Cabinet OKs arrests of whole families, 3-5 year jail terms for resisters
By israelinsider staff October 24, 2004
A ministerial committee led by Justice Minister Yosef "Tommy" Lapid has amended the compensation and punishment bill passed today by the Israeli
government to allow for simultaneous arrests of parents and their children, which was not previously legal. Whole families resisting expulsion from
their homes thus may be rounded up efficiently and deported to mass internment facilities prepared for them.
Those arrested will be liable to 3 to 5 year prison terms, the latter if they are found in possession of "hot or cold" objects which might be used
as weapons, even if resistance is passive. It is not clear whether children and adults will have the same terms or whether they will be allowed to
serve together in "family detention centers" or whether families will be split up and sent to different internment facilities around the countries.
The bill, which outlines compensation for settlers facing evacuation under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, as well as punishments
for those refusing or resisting expulsion and deportation, won support Sunday from the cabinet and the ministerial committee on legislation, two days
before the bill is due to be presented to the Knesset plenum. The bill was first approved in the cabinet by a majority of 13 ministers during the
weekly cabinet meeting, while six -- five members of the Likud and the sole remaining member of the National Religious Party -- voted against.
The committee on legislation passed most of the clauses in the bill without changes, although several alterations were made, Haaretz reported, some
regarding the authority of police and security forces in the event of resistance to the evacuation. Security officials believe that those detained for
hindering evacuation will include whole families, and that it is unreasonable to separate children from their parents during an arrest, the newspaper
reported. Thus the ability to round up whole families is conceived as a humanitarian measure.
Humanitarian considerations have been a guiding force for the current government.
Several months ago, Minister Lapid compared a Palestinian woman picking through the rubble of her home destroyed by the IDF during a mission to
uncover arms-smuggling tunnels to "my grandmother who was thrown out of her house during the Shoah (Holocaust)," adding that "The destruction of
homes must stop because it is inhuman, un-Jewish, and causes us great harm around the world," Lapid added. "In the end we'll be kicked out of the
UN, we?ll be put on trial in The Hague [seat of the International Court of Justice], and no one will want to have anything to do with us."
Under the plan approved by Sharon's cabinet, and due to be voted on this week by the governement, 1500 homes of Jewish families in Gaza, along with
schools and other community structures, are to be leveled and the land turned over to Palestinian groups.
Families which do not accept compensation are to be forcibly deported and sent to mass incarceration facilities and internment camps which the Israeli
Prison Services has been ordered to prepare. Graves of dead Jews buried in Gaza are reportedly to be dug up and relocated elsewhere along with
synagogues which are to be dismantled.
At the start of the cabinet meeting, Sharon described the evacuation bill as "clear and thorough."
"The law will make things as easy as possible for the settlers who will be evacuated and I am certain that even those who oppose the disengagement
plan will not want to make things difficult for the settlers," Sharon said.
Creative solutions for mass incarceration ordered
Ofer Lefler, spokesman for the Israel Prisons Authority (IPA), recently announced that the IPA had been ordered to develop "creative alternatives"
for the mass detention of disengagement opponents.
Lefler noted that detained disengagement opponents would not be "security prisoners" and thus the IPA would have considerable leeway in modes of
incarceration. He cited the incarceration of illegal workers awaiting expulsion in a hotel that was converted into a temporary prison as an example of
a creative solution.