Army instructs Silwan man to leave capital

IDF denies restraining orders within Green Line are always issued by police.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
December 6, 2010 05:56
3 minute read.
Adnan Geith

Adnan Geith 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Soldiers from the IDF’s Home Front Command recently issued Silwan resident Adnan Geith a restraining order that forces him to leave the capital for four months, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Geith, 35, was arrested seven times in two months for clashing with security forces before he received the restraining order on November 25.

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The restraining order is unusual because Geith must leave the entire city, not just move to another neighborhood as is normally required.

Also, it was served by the Home Front Command, which does not usually deal with restraining orders inside Israeli territory.

Arab residents of east Jerusalem are often served with restraining orders by the police as part of the investigative process that requires them to temporarily stay away from their home neighborhood.

In the West Bank, restraining orders served by the IDF are issued against Arabs, and infrequently Jewish settlers, when they are being investigated about a violent incident.

The army is responsible for the restraining orders in the West Bank because it is the highest authority in the area.

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Despite being located over the 1949-1967 Green Line, Silwan is within Jerusalem’s municipal borders. The Home Front Command served Geith with the restraining order by invoking Israel’s state of emergency, which gives the army the ability to issue such orders against any citizen without due process, or a trial. The law that gives the army this power dates back to the British Mandate, when the British Army instituted a state of emergency to deal with violent clashes.

The Knesset votes to extend the state of emergency every year.

“We are always in a state of emergency, but we do have a criminal justice system in place,” said Ronit Sela, the spokeswoman for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

She said this is the first time ACRI is aware of the military invoking the state of emergency to serve a restraining order against an Israeli resident.

“It’s something they’ve never used before, and they are implementing it in order to deal with something that there are regular means to deal with,” Sela said.

Geith owns a small grocery in Silwan and has four children.

Authorities have been familiar with Geith for his frequent involvement in clashes in the area. He is also active in the Silwan protest tent in the Al-Bustan section and served as the Silwan community representative to Fatah. Two years ago, he was imprisoned for six months.

“I don’t recognize this order,” he told 20 community members in Arabic at a press conference late last week. “It’s irrational that the military can issue this order to deport me while bringing in settlers,” he said.

Geith told the Post that he had retained the services of a lawyer, even though he said he has little trust in the Israeli court system. He said he hoped it would buy him time until Arab countries convince the UN to pressure Israel to cancel the order.

In response, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said that “the commander of the Home Front Command is the authorized person, according to the defense bylaws (emergency) 1945, to issue an order to restrict a suspect from entering a defined area, should there exist information that the suspect endangers the public peace, and according to the request of security officials.

“OC Home Front Command was presented with intelligence and security information tying Mr. Adnan Geith to activities jeopardizing the public peace in the Jerusalem metropolitan area.”

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