Court Sets Precedent: House Arrest for 'Settlers'

Honenu attorneys sets precedent by convincing a court that 'house arrest' means arrest at home - even if home is in Judea or Samaria.

Yaakov Levi,

Flash 90

A court set a precedent Sunday by sending a youth to house arrest at his home in Samaria. 

The concept of house arrest is far from rare in Israel, for suspected miscreants whose offenses are too serious to allow them release on their own recognizance, but not serious enough to warrant a stretch in jail.

However – if the person being sentenced is a resident of Judea and Samaria who was arrested for attempting to halt demolitions of Jewish homes in new communities (termed “outposts” in the media) – the court always orders that the "house arrest" be carried out in a home inside the 1948 armistice lines, instead of at his own home. The reason for this is not clear, but activists believe it is an attempt to cut off communication with other members of the activist community who may live nearby.

The Honenu organization is demanding that the courts put a stop to this practice. 

Of course, there is nothing stopping activists from visiting their compatriots in Tel Aviv or Petach Tikvah, but the courts apparently feel that their method will at least discourage further “conspiracies,” said observers.

Nevertheless, attorneys for Honenu charged in court Sunday that the practice was discriminatory. The issue arose during the trial of a young man who allegedly attempted to interfere with the demolition of homes by letting the air out of the tires of a tractor that was to be used for the job. He is also suspected of attacking a Border Guard officer.

Prosecutors refused to let the man, who is married and lives near the town of Kedumim in Samaria, to be released, and demanded that he be held at least under house arrest. When it became clear that his residence was in Samaria, prosecutors demanded that he be sent elsewhere – inside “Israel proper” - for his house-arrest term.

Honenu attorneys argued that this was unfair, and that legally, there was no difference for Israeli citizens between Kedumim and Tel Aviv. If an individual violates those laws in Tel Aviv and is sent to house arrest at his home there, the same must apply to Kedumim. The court, in what appears to be a precedent-setting ruling, accepted the argument.

Meanwhile, a second detainee in that same case was freed Sunday after Honenu attorneys argued that there were “significant contradictions” in the prosecution's case. Speaking after the decision, Honenu attorney Aharon Rosa said that the rulings in both cases were “fair and balanced.”