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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 191st session
(Québec, 24 October 2012)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the cases of the above-mentioned parliamentarians, all of whom were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006, and to the resolution it adopted at its 190th session (April 2012),

Recalling the following: the parliamentarians concerned were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on the Electoral Platform for Change and Reform and were arrested following the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier on 25 June 2006; they were prosecuted and found guilty of membership of a terrorist organization (Hamas), of holding a seat in parliament on behalf of that organization, of providing services to it by sitting on parliamentary committees, and of supporting an illegal organization; they were sentenced to prison terms of up to 40 months,

Considering that, while most of the parliamentarians concerned were released after serving their sentences, many were subsequently rearrested, sometimes several times, and placed in administrative detention, that, in April 2012, when it last considered the case, 23 of them were reportedly held in administrative detention, and that they now number five, namely Mr. Omar Matar, Mr. Nayef Al-Rojoub, Mr. Abduljaber Al-Fuqahaa, Mr. Mohammed Al-Natseh and Mr. Ahmed Al-Haj Ali,

Recalling the following information provided regarding administrative detention:

  • According to the Israeli authorities, Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council have had to be held in administrative detention in recent years because “they have frequently abused their positions and immunities as parliamentarians to promote and facilitate the terrorist activities of Hamas, including through the collection of funds in support of Hamas’ military operations, and the recruitment of human and other resources in order to improve Hamas’ organizational strength”;

  • The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that, in order to apply the exceptional measure of administrative detention, which is usually ordered for six months but can in principle be prolonged indefinitely, there must be current and reliable information that a person poses a specific and concrete threat, and that all alternative criminal procedures must have been exhausted before recourse is had to administrative detention; there are two avenues of judicial review, namely the independent and impartial military courts, which have the authority to assess the material relevant to the detainee in question in order to determine whether the decision to detain him/her was reasonable given his/her general rights to a fair trial and freedom of movement, and military prosecution, which implements a “cautious and level-headed” policy in the use of administrative detention, an approach that has resulted in fewer administrative detention orders;

  • In his letter of 4 January 2012, the Speaker of the Knesset stresses that those detained have the right to appeal their detentions or other aspects of their handling before a second instance of appeal within the military court and to petition Israel’s Supreme Court; the Speaker stresses that “every issuance of an Administrative Detention Order is regularly given serious consideration by both the prosecution and the Court”;

  • Human rights organizations in and outside Israel have stressed that administrative detention is usually motivated by a “security threat”, but that the scope and nature of the threat are not specified and the evidence is not disclosed; although administrative detainees are entitled to appeal, this right is ineffective as the detainees and their lawyers do not have access to the information on which the orders are based and are therefore unable to present a meaningful defence,

Recalling its long-standing misgivings about the ability of those held in administrative detention to benefit from due process, despite the rules pertaining thereto, Supreme Court case-law and any safeguards they contain to prevent the abusive use of administrative detention, and its conviction that, in the absence of any convincing reasons presented by the Israeli authorities to the contrary, it should be possible to resort to normal criminal procedure, as on past occasions,

Considering the following: a hunger strike started by individual Palestinian prisoners at the beginning of 2012 was joined, as of 17 April 2012, by over 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention; the hunger strike came to an end on 14 May 2012, with the Israeli authorities reportedly agreeing to put an end to the isolation of 19 prisoners and the prohibition of family visits from Gaza; according to numerous press reports, the Israeli authorities also agreed to renew administrative detention orders only if warranted by important new information; this has not, however, been officially and publicly confirmed by the Israeli authorities,

Recalling the following information on file: on 28 May 2006, the then Israeli Minister of the Interior revoked the Jerusalem residence permits of Mr. Abu-Teir, Mr. Totah and Mr. Attoun, arguing that they had shown disloyalty to Israel by holding seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council; the order was not implemented owing to their arrest on 26 June 2006; after their release in May/June 2010, they were immediately notified that they had to leave East Jerusalem; Mr. Abu-Teir was ordered to leave by 19 June 2010 and, refusing to do so, was arrested on 30 June 2010 and later deported to the West Bank; the other two parliamentarians were ordered to leave by 3 July 2010 and, likewise refusing to comply with the order, took refuge in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in Jerusalem, from which they were removed by the Israeli authorities on 26 September 2011 and 23 January 2012 respectively; it appears that Mr. Totah has been in detention awaiting trial since then; in response to a petition against the revocation of the residence permits and the deportation orders to the Supreme Court, on 23 October 2011 the Court asked the Government to respond within 30 days to the claim that the Minister of the Interior did not have legal authority to revoke a residence permit,

Considering that one of the sources reported that the Salfit offices of Mr. Matar and Mr. Abduljawad were raided on 27 June 2012 at 1:30 a.m. and that two computers and financial and other documents pertaining to the Palestinian Legislative Council’s work in Salfit were allegedly confiscated; considering also that the source affirms that the house of Mr. Azzedine Fattash, the office director, was raided by a group of 30 to 40 soldiers at the same time, and that Mr. Fattash’s personal computers were also confiscated,

Considering the following: one of the sources reported that Mr. Hasan Yousef had been transferred to Moskobiyyeh interrogation centre on 10 July 2012; on 12 July 2012, Mr. Yousef’s interrogation was extended by a court for 12 days; it now appears that he is awaiting trial; however, there is no information on file regarding the specific accusations against him; in mid-2012, one of the sources reported that Mr. Ahmad Mubarak had been detained on 15 July 2012 for interrogation; there is no information on file on whether or not he remains in detention or if any charges have been brought against him,

Bearing in mind, lastly, that, in its concluding observations on the third periodic report of Israel under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee recommended inter alia that all persons under Israel’s jurisdiction and effective control be afforded full enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant,

  1. Welcomes the release from administrative detention in recent months of 18 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including the Speaker, Mr. Dweik, in July 2012;
  2. Trusts that, as a result of what appears to be a change in practice if not policy, the Israeli authorities will also release forthwith the five parliamentarians who remain in administrative detention or, should there be criminal involvement, will prosecute them in full accordance with normal criminal procedure; wishes to be kept informed of any developments in this regard;

  3. Wishes to obtain official information regarding Mr. Yousef’s reported trial, in particular details of the accusations or charges against him; also wishes to ascertain the status of Mr. Mubarak and whether he remains in detention, and if so, on what grounds;

  4. Expresses deep concern at the alleged raids on the Salfit offices of Mr. Matar and Mr. Abduljawad and the house of the office director and at the alleged confiscation of computers and documents reportedly pertaining to the Palestinian Legislative Council’s work; wishes to receivethe official view on the raids and, should the raids indeed have taken place, to know the legal and factual grounds for them;

  5. Reiterates its concernsabout the decision to revoke the residence permits of three members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and how it was implemented; recalls that, in keeping with Article 45 of the Hague Convention (IV) of October 1907, which is considered to enshrine rules of customary international law, the inhabitants of occupied territory, such as East Jerusalem, may not be compelled to swear allegiance to the occupying power; regrets that it has yet to receive a copy of the response that the Israeli Government was due to submit to the Supreme Court by 23 November 2011 on the matter of the revocation of the residence permits; reiterates its wish to receive this document and to know if the Court has indeed ruled on the matter, and if so, with what outcome; wishes also to know the grounds on which Mr. Totah is reportedly in detention and awaiting trial;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the Israeli authorities and the sources, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report back to it in due course.

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