ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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50 ministers, coalition MKs urge Gallant to free 4 Jewish administrative detainees

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, center, speaks to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir after a Knesset vote in Jerusalem, February 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, center, speaks to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir after a Knesset vote in Jerusalem, February 15, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A letter signed by 50 current ministers and coalition lawmakers demands that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant order the release of four settlers held under administrative detention, including two who were detained days after hundreds of extremist settlers rampaged through the Palestinian West Bank town of Huwara, burning homes and cars and causing a death — under unclear circumstances — and many injuries.

The letter calls administrative detention — which enables the state to hold suspects indefinitely, without pressing charges or even telling them what they’re suspected of — “an aggressive measure used against the settler community” to “blatantly circumvent the court.”

Administrative detention is primarily used against Palestinian terror suspects — with hundreds of detainees — although it is sometimes also used against suspected Jewish extremists.

The letter was initiated by Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech, and is signed by her party leader, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, as well as ministers Shlomo Karhi, Orit Strock and Idit Silman, as well as dozens of others, including from Gallant’s ruling Likud party.

The letter names the detainees as David Hisdai and 17-year-old Tzadok Hacohen — held after the Huwara rampage — as well as Elhai Carmeli and Avraham Yered, who were arrested three months ago by former defense minister Benny Gantz and are still in custody.

“We believe that the use of administrative detention, without holding legal proceedings, should be kept for particularly extreme cases, such as acts of murderous enemies from the ranks of Israel-haters,” the letter reads.

“In all four [of these] cases, the court immediately released the detainees. If there are still suspicions against them, police should open a criminal probe like in every other criminal case in the country.”

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