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Israel's Politicized Judiciary By: Moshe Dann
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Last week, several young men with families were ordered expelled for four months from their homes in the Jewish communities of Yitzhar in northern Samaria and Adei-Ad, near Shiloh; they were also forbidden to enter the entire area of Yehuda and Shomron (“the West Bank”).

 

The Israeli Security Services (ISS) laconically announced: “The order was based on information obtained by the ISS according to which the individuals mentioned were involved in the planning and carrying out of illegal and violent activities against Palestinians and security forces. The order was given in the interest of preserving public safety.”

 

The government source refused to offer any further information, or explanation.

 

In such cases, there is virtually no appeal, since there is no way of knowing what the charges are, nor can Israeli courts intervene. The security services are the sole authority.

 

Many questions, however, remain unanswered, reflecting the tenuous nature of Israel's judicial system:

 

If these young men are "violent" and "dangerous," why aren't they charged, brought before a court and, if guilty, put in jail?

 

Why is the order limited to only 4 months? What will happen when they return to their homes? Won't the threat they pose remain?

 

Why are they expelled only from the West Bank, not restricted in other areas throughout Israel?

 

Why are only these people being expelled, when Israeli Leftists, Arabs, and foreigners (like ISM) engage Israeli security forces in violent pitched battles? And what about Israeli Arabs who throw rocks at Israeli motorists, incite violence and attack policemen and civilians and yet remain free?

 

The government source refused to answer.

 

Ignored by all major media, as they have in similar cases, this violation of civil and humanitarian rights reflects the politicization of judicial institutions and touches a raw nerve: to whom does Judea and Samaria belong?

 

Admittedly, the issue is complicated because Israel has not extended full sovereignty over Yehuda and Shomron, which remains under military rule since 1967. Nevertheless, violations of law and procedures by Israeli citizens are brought to Israeli civilian courts. Denying Israeli citizens due process – the right to a fair and impartial hearing in court – violates the spirit and letter of the law and undermines the entire democratic system.

        

No democratic society can tolerate secret, extra-judicial authorities which have virtually unlimited and unrestricted power. Israeli courts working closely with the State Prosecutor's Office challenges the notion of equality before the law. But the operations of a secret police that often have a political agenda compromise Israel's entire judicial system, which is the basis of Israeli democracy. It undermines the very raison d'etre of the state itself.




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