From jail cells, settler youth call for defiance of administrative orders
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From jail cells, settler youth call for defiance of administrative orders

While Shin Bet defends tactic as necessary to prevent terror, far-right activists say their legal rights are being trampled

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

The alleged head of a Jewish extremist group, Meir Ettinger, appears in court in Upper Nazareth, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
The alleged head of a Jewish extremist group, Meir Ettinger, appears in court in Upper Nazareth, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Following a recent spike in administrative orders signed by the defense minister to prevent settler violence, a group of young far-right activists are beginning to deliberately disobey decrees against them, Channel 2 reported Tuesday.

Four of the youths have recently been detained for violating administrative orders, which can include detention, bans from entering the entire West Bank, bans on contacting certain individuals, or nighttime house arrest, the report said.

The Defense Ministry, under the advisement of the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police, has signed off on the practice, arguing that it has helped substantially diminish the amount of hate crimes, notably “price-tag” attacks. The latter refers to offenses ostensibly carried out in retaliation for Israeli policies that are seen as unfriendly to radical settlers.

But the young activists being pursued once again by the Shin Bet with the newest batch of some 30 administrative orders argue that their rights are being trampled since they do not receive due process.

Among the four far-right activists currently in prison for violating a renewed administrative order is Moshe Shahor.

Jewish settlers try to rebuild a structure demolished earlier by Israeli troops in the West Bank outpost of Maoz Esther, a hilltop site northeast of Ramallah, in May 2009. (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
File. Members of the Hilltop Youth try to rebuild a structure demolished earlier by Israeli troops in the West Bank outpost of Maoz Esther, northeast of Ramallah, in May 2009. (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

“They abuse a person for no reason,” he said of the Israeli security forces during a Channel 2 interview. “[These orders] are not for half-a-year, but for long periods. I, for example, have received administrative orders lasting for three-and-a-half years. If you think that I did something, then indict me.”

Shahor called on other far-right activists to disobey their respective administrative orders in an act of protest.

While the tactic is widely used in detentions of Palestinians in the West Bank, it has been more frequently employed over the past several years against Israelis too, most notably after a lethal July 2015 attack in the village of Duma, which killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha and his parents, Saad and Riham.

Elkana Pikar (L) speaks with an Israel Police officer from the Judea and Samaria Division who is handing him a restraining order from the West Bank in his home in the Yitzhar settlement on May 16, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Elkana Pikar (L) speaks with an Israel Police officer from the Judea and Samaria Division who is handing him a restraining order from the West Bank in his home in the Yitzhar settlement on May 16, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)

For the most part, the administrative orders against Israelis have targeted activists known as the “hilltop youth,” young people who move to settlement outposts, resist soldiers’ attempts to evacuate them, and have been known to carry out price-tag and other hate-crime attacks.

Shahor’s attorney Itamar Ben Gvir said the Shin Bet’s tactics go well beyond what is proportional and are anti-democratic. “When you make such sweeping and arbitrary orders, in the end it explodes back at you like a boomerang,” he said in a statement.

The Shin Bet defended the measures.

“As part of the efforts to thwart violent and extreme terrorist activity in recent months, administrative restrictions have been issued against key activists in order to prevent them from carrying out activities against Palestinians and security forces,” the Shin Bet told Channel 2.

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