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  • ACRI

Sweeping Use of "Combat Detention" in the West Bank

Since the outbreak of the war, all Palestinians arrested in the West Bank for offenses under the security legislation have been detained under arrest orders under a combat detention clause (section 33 of the Order on Security Provisions). The article allows a person to be detained for a full eight days before being brought before a judge, and is not allowed to meet with a lawyer for 48 hours from the date of his arrest. The section is intended to apply in exceptional situations to "anyone arrested in the area during an operational activity to combat terrorism,  and the circumstances of his arrest raise concerns about him that he endangers or may endanger the security of the area, the security of IDF forces or public safety." In practice, however, the exception has become routine, and the clause applies to adults and minors, anywhere in the West Bank, under all circumstances and for every offense in this realm.

On March 6, 2024, we petitioned the High Court of Justice, together with HaMoked and the Human Rights Defenders Fund, against the detention policy, which sweepingly uses the combat detention clause. We asked that the section be abolished or at least reduced, so that it would not apply to minors, and that it could be reached in court before the detention order expires. We also asked for a change in today's detention policy and an end to the sweeping use of the clause. They argued that referring to all arrests in the West Bank as combat detentions, regardless of the circumstances of the incident, creates a situation in which protected residents are detained for 8 days, forbidden to meet with a lawyer, and have no way of obtaining access to their detention, some of whom are not even interrogated. This policy violates the rights to liberty, dignity and due process, exposing every child, teenager, woman, adult, and elderly person in the West Bank to arbitrary arrest simply because he is Palestinian. This is a serious situation in itself, but it is even more serious in light of the harsh conditions in the detention facilities.

On April 18, 2024, the state filed an updated notice and an extension request to submit a response. In the notice, the state noted that a significant change had been made regarding the policy of using the combat detention clause, and it was determined that it would be used only for adult suspects who are arrested on suspicion of committing security offenses and who are required for security interrogations by the Shin Bet, or for ISA detainees who are ultimately held in administrative detention. Regarding the rest of the arrests, it was determined that suspects detained for interrogation by the police would be detained for 96 hours or less (if it is a criminal offense or depending on the age of the detainee) and not for eight days, even if it is a security offense. It was also decided that illegal aliens in the West Bank would also be detained for 96 hours rather than eight days. As stated, it was reported that minors would not be arrested according to the combat detention clause.

HCJ 1946/24 Association for Civil Rights in Israel v. Commander of IDF Forces in the West Bank

Attorney: Roni Pelli (Association for Civil Rights in Israel), Daniel Shenhar (HaMoked): Center for the Defence of the Individual, Michal Pomerantz and Riham Nasra (Human Rights Defenders Fund)

Petition (Hebrew)


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