Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday night defended his decision to administratively detain two Jewish settlers suspected of past and potential future terror against Palestinians.
Administrative detention is a judicial proceeding, but detainees lack some of the rights that criminal defendants have – defended as being due to the danger security forces estimate they pose and that much of the evidence against them is classified.
On March 2, after one of the courts ordered the release of the two on bail over police objections, Gallant signed a request from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to detain them.
Subsequently, politicians attacked Gallant for his decision, including Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech, accusing him of deserting his right-wing constituency by detaining Jewish settlers, when the main issue is Palestinian terrorism.
The "mark of Cain"
Gallant responded that he still supports the vast majority of settlers, but that the massive number of Jewish settlers who attacked Huwara committed acts of terror against Palestinians and were “the mark of Cain” – referencing the first paradigm of murder in the Bible.
During the incident, a Palestinian man was killed, dozens were injured and large numbers of Palestinians homes and cars were torched in a revenge attack by Jews following a terror attack that killed two Jewish-Israeli brothers.
Gallant's explanation and further statements
Gallant said he reviewed substantial evidence against the two detainees attesting to their danger and that critics should trust that these extreme measures would only be taken when the danger is clear.
Likewise, he said that neither he nor any other Israeli security agencies can turn a blind eye to terror, Palestinian or Jewish.
There are currently around 967 Palestinians in administrative detention, several hundred in quieter times. During tense security periods, there are usually a few Jews.