Adalah: Proposed Bill Authorizing National Security Minister to Order Administrative Detentions is Aimed at Reestablishing Military Rule over Palestinian Citizens.

In a letter sent to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, objecting to the proposed bill granting the Minister the authority to order draconian measures, Adalah argued that the law is a racist initiative aimed at targeting Palestinian citizens.

On 2 July 2023, Adalah sent a letter to Israel's Attorney General, Gali Baharav-Miara, and the members of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, objecting to a private bill proposed by Chairman of the Knesset National Security Committee, MK Tzivka Fogel (Jewish Power Party). Adalah's letter was sent in advance of a committee discussion on the proposed bill, which has been delayed for several weeks now.


The proposed bill, titled "Administrative Powers (Arrests and Restrictions) (Temporary Provision), 2023-5783", would authorize the Minister of National Security, currently the head of the radical right-wing and racist Jewish Power party, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and other law enforcement entities, to issue orders of administrative detention for a duration of up to six months, an authority currently held exclusively by the Defense Minister. The proposed bill also intends to authorize the Minister and police officers to impose other draconian measures, including restrictions on leaving the country, limitations on movement and place of residence, prohibitions on contact with specific individuals, and restrictions on internet usage, as well as restrictions on employment or occupation. According to the explanatory notes of the proposed bill, the necessity for such a bill is due to the “significant increase in severe crime and a drastic rise in murder incidents, especially within Arab society, which also affects innocent civilians”. The notes further state that this “state of emergency requires allowing the Israeli police to use these tools even in cases of serious crime”.


CLICK HERE to read the proposed bill [Hebrew]

CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s letter [Hebrew]


In Adalah’s letter, Attorney Fady Khoury demanded that the Committee refrain from approving the bili. Adalah argued that the extensive powers the proposed bill seeks to grant to the Minister and law enforcement entities undermine a broad range of human rights protected by both local constitutional law and international law.


Adalah further emphasized that the underlying intention of the bill is to target Palestinian citizens of Israel and implement this legislation on the basis of ethnonational identity. Furthermore, the proposed bill is not only discriminatory but also aims to reintroduce tools used by the military government during the military rule that was imposed upon Palestinians in Israel from 1948 to 1966. The powers that the proposed bill seeks to confer upon the Minister and law enforcement are identical to those held by military commanders during this period of military rule, under the British Mandate era 1945 Emergency Regulations.


Adalah also argued that the powers granted through this bill have been put forward under the false pretext of "fighting crime in Arab society". The alarming rise in killings in Palestinian towns in Israel and the high incidence of organized crime are the products of deep-rooted systemic discrimination and complete neglect by law enforcement when it comes to combating organized crime in Palestinian towns, originating from decades of police failure to fulfill their duties. The clear intention of granting further powers to the police is to deepen the systematic deprivation of liberty against Palestinian citizens even further.


This proposed bill is also a part of the government's overall efforts to expand the powers of the police and further politicize law enforcement. Several agendas and laws have already been passed, granting political leaders, particularly National Security Minister Ben-Gvir, unprecedented direct control over law enforcement authorities. These actions are in line with the commitments made by the current far-right government in its coalition agreements.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah's position paper.


Adalah is currently challenging the law that subordinates the police to the National Security Minister before the Supreme Court.


CLICK HERE to read more about Adalah’s petition


The Defense Minister is currently the official authorized by law to order administrative detentions without charge or trial in the West Bank and inside Israel. In the West Bank, administrative detention is a widely practiced measure; Addameer - Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reports that the current number of Palestinians in administrative detention stands at 1,083. This practice is widely considered to be illegal and draconian. For instance, in its 2022 concluding observations, the UN Human Rights Committee explicitly stated that Israel “should immediately put an end to the widespread practice of arbitrary arrest and detention, including administrative detention, of Palestinians”. While this authority is not commonly exercised against Palestinian citizens of Israel, there has been a growing number of such instances in recent years.


Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury commented:

“If the utter failure of the law enforcement system to protect Palestinian citizens is not enough, the current proposed bill cynically exploits this failure to further entrench the role of the police in establishing two separate legal systems based on national and ethnic criteria. The objective of the law is not to combat crime but rather to solidify the marginalized status of Palestinian citizens as individuals stripped of rights, whose freedoms can be taken away with the approval of the National Security minister, who openly promotes racist agendas.”



Related Press Releases

Adalah: Israeli Government’s decision to involve the Shin Bet and army to fight crime in Arab society is racist and illegal 4 October 2021


Israeli Police establish a paramilitary undercover unit assigned to operate exclusively within Arab towns 2 September 2021


Adalah calls to reject an Israeli Government proposed bill allowing warrantless searches that will lead to racial policing 9 November 2021


Israeli Knesset passes law setting mandatory minimum penalties for weapons offenses; Adalah: This move will not help to fight crime but will infringe on fair trial rights and liberty of Palestinian citizens of Israel 7 December 2021