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Dirani. Suing Israel for torture Photo: AFP
Dirani. Suing Israel for torture Photo: AFP
 
Captured navigator Ron Arad
Captured navigator Ron Arad 
 
 

Supreme Court endorses administrative detention of 'unlawful combatants'

Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law aims to remove militants from terror circle threatening Israel, even at cost of violating personal freedoms

Efrat Weiss
Published: 06.11.08, 13:11 / Israel News

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor Wednesday of the law allowing the detention of those termed ‘Unlawful Combatants.’ However, the court reduced its scope in determining the criteria for the confinement of such militants.

 

In doing so, the court rejected the appeal made by two Palestinian residents of Gaza, who were incarcerated in Israel not as war captives.

 

The Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law, which went into effect six years ago, allows for the administrative detention of those participating in terror acts against the State of Israel.

 

In their verdict, the judges stated that the purpose of the law is “worthy and based on the public’s need, which may justify violating the personal freedoms." However, the law will only pertain to foreign citizens.

 

“The incarceration law of unlawful combatants (terror operatives that do not abide by the Geneva Convention) was legislated based on the harsh security reality of murderous terror threats, which have been plaguing Israel, its citizens and residents indiscriminately,” wrote the judges.

 

The verdict reiterated the legislators’ policy: “The law’s security objective is to remove unlawful combatants from the cycle of terror organizations operating against Israel.”

 

The judges maintained that the administrative detention serves the legislative purpose, stressing that it does not pertain to Israel’s citizens and residents, but only to “outside sources that pose a threat to the country’s security.”

 

Bargaining chips

The judges are well aware of the incarceration law’s substantial violation of personal freedoms, yet it meets the requirements of the statute and the court has no legal grounds to interfere. In the case of the two Gazan Palestinians, a tight link has been proved between them and Hizbullah.

 

The incarceration law had been previously linked to Sheikh Abed Al-Karim Obaid, former Hizbullah head, and Mustafa Dirani, a former official of the Amal organization in Lebanon, who were kidnapped in the early 1990s to aid in the release of captured navigator Ron Arad.

 

Dirani was abducted from his home in the Lebanese Kaser Naba village by an IDF force in 1994, while Obaid was kidnapped in 1989. The former pressed charges against Israel for claiming he had been tortured by his interrogators in jail.

 

The two ‘bargaining chips’ were finally released in the controversial exchange deal with Hizbullah, in which IDF reserve Colonel Elhanan Tennenbaum was returned to Israel along with the bodies of IDF soldiers Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Suad. 

 

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