Nationalist activist Meir Ettinger, who was arrested last month in an administrative detention with no trial or evidence, launched a hunger strike on Thursday after being transferred to solitary confinement and having access to phones removed from him with no reason given.
Ettinger was put into solitary confinement in Eshel Prison on Wednesday, as was Evyatar Slonim, another Jewish youth likewise arrested on administrative detention, which is a relic from the British mandate period used almost exclusively against Palestinian Arab terrorists until now.
The transfer of the third Jewish youth arrested in August under administrative detention, Mordechai Mayer, was prevented at the last moment by a petition from Attorney Adi Kedar of the Honenu legal aid organization that led to a postponing order from the court.
Attorney Sima Kokhav, who visited Ettinger and Slonim on Thursday on behalf of Honenu, reported that Ettinger announced he will continue the hunger strike until he is allowed to speak with his wife.
Slonim was allowed by Israel Prison Services (IPS) to speak only with his family members. Kokhav reports that IPS sources refused to explain why the two were put into solitary confinement at Eshel Prison, and claimed it was on the orders of the IPS intelligence unit.
Until now the two had been in the open prison wings reserved for religious Jews at Elah and Ayalon Prisons, according to the administration order signed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud). It should be noted that according to ordinances, administrative detainees are to receive the best conditions given that they are not accused of any crime.
"This is illegal"
"We view with seriousness the worsening of the conditions of the Jewish administrative detainees, especially when it occurs with no motive or reason," said attorney Kokhav. "This is an unreasonable step, neither proportional nor legal."
A hearing will be held on Monday at the central district court on Kedar's urgent petition in Ettinger's case. According to Kedar, transferring the youth to isolation is against the law given that his conditions were set in the administrative order and the IPS doesn't have the authority to move him to another prison - and all the more so doesn't have the authority to worsen his conditions.
Regarding the third detainee, Mayer, a hearing will be held on Sunday. However, a hearing is only scheduled for Slonim in another month at the Be'er Sheva district court, given that the central district court judge apparently didn't see fit to hear Slonim's case on the serious worsening of his jail conditions.
Honenu, which is representing the detainees, issued a statement saying, "the IPS's management is very severe and is completely illegal. At a time when an intifada is being launched and Arab terrorists are still celebrating in the jails with cell phones and luxurious meals, the IPS is showing a hard hand against the Jewish administrative detainees who aren't accused of anything."
"We hope that the court will order a cancellation of the transfer of the detainees to solitary confinement, and we demand they severely judge those responsible for this serious harm to the rights of the Jewish administrative detainees."
Ettinger, a grandson of former MK Rabbi Meir Kahane who was assassinated by an Arab terrorist in 1990 and who called to transfer Arab residents out of Israel, was detained in early August for his alleged involvement in “organizing extremist Jewish activities in Judea and Samaria." No evidence or details have been presented to back up the claims.