IDF issues restraining order against Silwan man

ACRI says is first time it's aware of where Home Front Command uses State of Emergency order against Israeli resident.

December 2, 2010 20:17
2 minute read.
The east Jerusalem neighborhood Silwan.

311_Silwan houses. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Home Front Command served a Silwan resident with a restraining order that forces him to leave Jerusalem for four months, the Post learned on Thursday. Silwan resident Adnan Geith, 35, was arrested seven times in the past two months for clashing with security forces before he received the order to temporarily leave Jerusalem on November 25.

East Jerusalem Arab residents are often served with restraining orders by the police as part of the interrogation process, that requires them to stay away from their home neighborhood for a temporary period. But Geith’s restraining order is unique because he must leave the entire city, not just move to another neighborhood as most restraining orders require.

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Also, Geith’s restraining order was served by the Home Front Command, which usually does not deal with restraining orders inside Israeli territory. In the West Bank, restraining orders served by the army are issued against Arab residents, and infrequently Jewish settlers, when an individual is 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.

Despite being located over the 1967 borders, Silwan falls within the Jerusalem municipal borders. Home Front Command served Geith with the restraining order by invoking Israel’s State of Emergency, which gives the army the ability to issue restraining orders against any citizen without due process, or a trial. The law that gives the army this power dates back to British-mandate Palestine, when the British army instituted a State of Emergency to deal with the violent clashes. The Knesset votes annually to re-extend the State of Emergency.

“We are always in a state of emergency, but we do have a criminal system in place,” said Ronit Sela, 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,” she said. 

Geith, 35, 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 neighborhood 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 twenty community members in Arabic at a press conference on Thursday morning. “It’s irrational that the military can issue this order to deport me while bringing in settlers,” he added.

Geith told the Jerusalem Post that he has retained a lawyer, even though he has little trust in the Israeli court system. He hopes it will buy him time until other Arab countries convince the UN to pressure Israel to remove the decree.

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