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IDF forces and Israeli settlers, 2009 (Image by ISM Palestine; Flickr)

Israel arrests Jewish extremists in West Bank

Israel has begun a crackdown on ultra-nationalist Israelis following the lethal arson attack in the West Bank last week.

On Sunday two high-profile militants were arrested and put under “administrative detention” for six months without trial.  Meir Ettinger and Eviatar Slonim are accused of “involvement in activity by an extremist Jewish group”, according to a statement released by Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon.

The arrests follow Thursday’s detention of Mordechai Meyer, an individual directly accused to have participated in last week’s attack on the Palestinian village, Duma.


Israel’s so-called “administrative detention” is a controversial measure of detaining individuals suspected of terrorism-related crimes without trial. The measure has been commonly reserved for Palestinians. Currently, hundreds of Palestinians are serving time under “administrative detention” without the possibility of seeing a judge.

The practice been criticised by various human rights groups, as well as by the United Nations. Palestinian prisoners have repeatedly protested against administrative detention with hunger-strikes.

Honenu, the association of Israeli lawyers representing Ettinger and Slonim, has condemned the detention without trial for Jewish Israeli citizens, calling it a relic from the British Mandate era.

An Israeli police spokeswoman also said that several arrests were carried out in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but did not give further details.

On July 31st, an 18-month-old baby and its father were killed in an attack by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.  The attack has been widely condemned as an act of terrorism.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “determined to vigorously fight…hate, fanaticism and terrorism from whatever side”. Critics accuse him of hypocrisy – such as Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, who points out that government policies have favoured right-wing nationalists and settlers.


For more on this story see:

Palestine will take Duma “terrorist attack” to the ICC

Palestinian toddler burnt in West Bank arson attack


Elisabeth Brahier

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