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Struggling against administrative detention is the duty of all of us

Responsibility for struggling against the system of Israeli administrative detention cannot only be pushed on the shoulders of captives. All Palestinians must stand up and struggle to abolish the practice

Mustafa Barghouti , Thursday 8 Sep 2016
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The number of detentions that the Israeli occupation army has inflicted on the sons and daughters of the Palestinian people is estimated to be one million since the beginning of the occupation in 1967.

It is estimated that approximately 40 percent of all male adults have been subject to arrest or detention at the hands of the Israeli army in one way or another.

Undoubtedly, the package of military laws, prevalent military rule and the absence of a fair judiciary created a situation that can’t be described except as Apartheid — an unjust system based on racial discrimination, under which thousands of male and female captives suffer.

There is an old saying that best describes this situation which is, “What can you do when the judge is your adversary?” Consequently, every detention is an injustice derived from the hegemony of the military occupation force.

However, the most unjust and abusive form of detention is definitely "administrative detention," which is only practiced by the most despotic regimes. In this field, Israel has surpassed all repressive regimes in practicing it.

Administrative detention allows Israelis to detain any Palestinian for six months that can be renewed forever, without pressing charges against the detainee, without the captive knowing the reason behind his detention, and even without his lawyer knowing the reason for his detention, which is kept in secret files.

It is a cheap means that grants the intelligence services an absolute right in detaining whoever they want, whenever they want, and for as long as they want.

I know cases in which the captives were detained under administrative detention for six years without one charge being pressed against them.

Netanyahu’s government has innovated a new level of persecution by practising administrative detention on the day of the release of captives whose sentences had ended after they passed more than 10 years in captivity — as was the case of Bilal Al-Kayed.

Administrative detention isn’t only unjust in itself but is an embodiment of injustice in its most flagrant form. Every Palestinian, male or female, is prone to its danger, for one sole reason: they are Palestinians. Because of this injustice’s flagrant nature, captives fought vigorously against it with the only weapon they had — the hunger strike. All of them exposed themselves to certain death, wagering their lives for the sake of their freedom and their people’s freedom.

Khader Adnan, Samer Al-Issawy, Thaer Halahla, Bilal Ziyab, Hanaa Shibly, Muhammad Al-Qiq, and now Bilal Al-Kayed, Mohammed and Mahmoud Al-Balboul, all these names became synonyms of heroism and dedication.

Nobody should forget the daring exploit of the five martyrs who paid with their lives the price of continuing the battle of the hunger strike. They are Abd-El-Kader Abo-Al-Fahm, Rasem Halawa, Ali Al-Ja'fari, Mahmoud Freitekh and Hussein Obeidat.

Today, there are more than 460 captives languishing in administrative detention. It isn’t ethically permissible that the responsibility of the struggle against administrative detention be laid on the shoulders of these captives only. It is the responsibility of all of us, and the responsibility of the entire Palestinian people.

It isn’t enough to just participate in solidarity with them through some rallies and sit-ins, for the time has come in which everyone must stand up and contribute in a joint battle in order to abolish administrative detention altogether.

This means that an international popular and official campaign be launched in order to expose and uncover Israel, its laws and policies, especially its system of administrative detention, which it continues to practice, and use the sanctions and boycott weapon so as to force it to abolish the practice.

All of us are prone to the danger of administrative detention and all of us are called upon to struggle against it.

The writer is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative.
 

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