This position paper is a response to the private bill expected to be discussed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on 2.7.23 proposes to give the Minister of National Security the authority to issue administrative arrest warrants within the territories of the State of Israel for vague reasons of public security. In addition, it proposes to impose restrictions on a person’s liberties, such as movement within the state and exit from it, prohibiting Internet use, prohibition of work or employment in a specific place, an obligation to live in one particular location, and more. This follows Amendment 37 to the Police Ordinance [New Version], 1971, which already officially anchored the politicization of the police by subjecting it to the Minister of National Security and also solidified the Minister’s authority to formulate policy and determine the enforcement and investigation policy of the police.
Zulat opposes the administrative arrest of any person. Although international law permits preventive arrests in exceptional security circumstances, these arrests contradict every person’s fundamental right to a fair trial and the rights to dignity, freedom, and equality. Already today, the State of Israel makes extensive use of the tool of administrative detention to hold in mass detention Palestinians, men, women, and even children, without conducting legal proceedings against them, without presenting evidence at the required level, and without giving them and their representatives a real opportunity to defend themselves and respond to the evidence.
The proposal befits dictatorial regimes such as China, Russia, Vietnam, Venezuela, and Belarus, which use such tools for internal purposes. In these countries, preventive arrests are frequently used to limit the freedoms of human rights activists, opposition activists, minorities, and journalists – who criticize the regimes and undermine them – and to deter others from joining the opposition. In Israel, the proposal comes at a time of heightened security threats, compounded by the failure of law enforcement agencies to deal with crime in Arab society. This context will justify the severe violation of the rights of the Arab minority and other minorities and protesters against the government.