Yoav Gallant
Yoav GallantErik Marmor/Flash90

A group of MKs issued a statement today (Thursday) withdrawing their signatures from a call to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to immediately release the Jewish suspects in the Huwara riots from administrative detention.

"After we received from Defense Minister Gallant a security review on the essential need for administrative detentions, which are carried out sparingly, we decided to withdraw our signature from the document calling for the release of the administrative detainees. We trust the decision of the Minister of Defense, which was made in light of the recommendations of the Shin Bet, and based solely on security considerations. As elected officials, we have a responsibility to calm the spirits," the MKs wrote.

The letter is signed by MKs from the Likud and Shas parties, including Boaz Bismuth, Osher Shekalim, Tsega Melaku, Moshe Passal, Eli Dallal, Dan Illouz, Yonatan Mashriki, Moshe Arbel, Uriel Busso, Erez Malul, Simon Moshiashvili, and Yosef Taieb.

Political sources told Israel National News - Arutz Sheva that there was pressure from Defense Minister Gallant's office to publish the announcement that the MKs had withdrawn their signatures from the original call for him to release the administrative detainees.

On Tuesday, fifty members of the coalition, including many ministers as well as representatives of all the parties in the government, lent their signatures to a letter demanding that Gallant release the suspects, two of whom he ordered held in administrative detention minutes after the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered them released due to lack of evidence.

The signatories criticized the administrative detentions as "blatant moves to bypass the courts," and accused Gallant of following in the footsteps of his predecessor in the Defense Ministry, National Unity party chairman MK Benny Gantz.

"Those administrative orders were issued without any judicial process or evidence produced against them, while [Gantz] ignored a court ruling ordering the minister to release them," the letter stated. "With regard to Elhai Carmeli, Benny Gantz went even further and signed the administrative detention order during his trial, in a blatant disregard for judicial procedure. The two men have remained in detention now for over three months, with Benny Gantz ignoring appeals from 40 Knesset members, members of the current coalition, calling on him to cancel those administrative orders."

The MKs added: "Last week, at the height of an extremely murderous wave of terrorist attacks, Minister Gallant decided to sign two new administrative detention orders for two Samarian Jews, David Hai Hasdai, who is a married father of two, and Tzadok Hacohen, a 17-year-old minor, and also to extend the detention of Elhai Carmeli for another three months."

They accused Gallant of "earning for our government the dubious title of the government that has placed the largest number of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria in administrative detention in the last 30 years. We believe that use of administrative detention without judicial process should be reserved for extremely serious cases such as the cases known to us involving murderous enemies of our people.

"In all these four cases, the courts ordered their immediate release," the signatories noted. "If there are still concrete suspicions against them, please give due respect to the police and open a criminal investigation as is done for any other criminal event that occurs in this country."

After the letter was published, Gallant released a statement justifying the use of administrative detention against the suspects.

"The events in Huwara were a 'mark of Cain' and a watershed moment for our society," Gallant wrote. "Those now under arrest had been planning additional acts of violence. They took advantage of the tragic events in Judea and Samaria, made their plans, and engaged in indiscriminate acts that endangered the lives of many."