Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli occupation to hold detainees indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.
Administrative detention is used almost exclusively to detain Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian Lands including the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
In most cases, detainees are simply informed that there is ‘secret evidence’ against them and that they are being held for security reasons.
Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention under the British occupation; in occupied Palestine since 1948; and then in the OPT since 1967, according to testimonies given to Addameer, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
Detainees are typically held under administrative detention for periods ranging from six months to six years.
The frequency of the use of administrative detention has fluctuated throughout Israeli occupation and has been steadily rising since the outbreak of the Second Intifada (uprising) in September 2000, following the 2014 war on Gaza, and the recent escalation after October 2015.
Israeli military uses administrative detention as a means of collective punishment for Palestinians who oppose the occupation.
Administrative Detention In Numbers
During the period of March 2002 to October 2002, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested over 15,000 Palestinians during mass arrest campaigns, rounding up males in cities and villages between the ages of 15 to 45.
In October 2002, there were over 1,050 Palestinians in administrative detention.
By the beginning of March 2003, the Israeli military held more than one thousand Palestinians in administrative detention.
In 2007, Israeli occupation held a monthly average of 830 administrative detainees, which was one hundred higher than in 2006.
Furthermore, during the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections of 2006, Israeli occupation placed dozens of candidates from the Islamic ‘Change and Reform Party’ in administrative detention.
An arrest campaign beginning in June 2014 the aftermath of the disappearance of three settlers resulted in the detention of several Palestinians, including Palestinian activists and Legislative Council members.
In the context of the Gaza War, this together resulted in the detention of 6,500 political prisoners at height by September 2014, including 500 administrative detainees (reaching the highest number in over 4 years), as compared to 5,721 in May 2014, including 192 administrative detainees.
As of July 2016, there were approximately 750 administrative detainees in Israeli jails and detention centers, including 3 Palestinian Legislative Council members, 2 females, and 8 children.
Since the beginning of 2023, the Israeli occupation has issued about 1978 administrative detention warrants until the end of last July, according to the data of the Prisoners’ Club.
Palestinians in Israeli administrative detention are now held under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and not the Israeli army, as was the case up to 2005.
Administrative detainees in Israeli prisons are not separated from the rest of the prison population, without arrangements for food appropriate to their culture and/or religion and to allow them to practice their faiths.
Administrative detainees in Israeli jails must endure severe restrictions on their right to education, rights to communicate with families and receive visits, and right to adequate medical treatment.
At present, administrative detainees are primarily held in three Israeli prison facilities, all but one of which are located in 1948 lands:
- Ofer Prison (located inside Ofer Military Base, south of Ramallah)
- Ketziot Prison (also known as Ansar or Negev Prison; located in the Negev Desert, five kilometers from the border with Egypt).
- Megiddo Prison (located inside a military base on the main JeninHaifa road)
Hunger Strikes as a Method of Resistance
Palestinian detainees have constantly resorted to hunger strikes as a method to oppose their administrative detention, demanding an end to this illegal policy that violates international law and Human rights accords.
Three Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails have been on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of their administrative detention without a charge or trial, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
The PPS stated that three Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails have been on hunger strike in protest of undefined detention without charge by the Israeli occupation.
The three detainees are Kayed Fasfous, Sultan Khalouf, and Maher al-Akhras.
The Palestinian detainees Kayed Al-Fasfous and Sultan Khalouf have been on hunger strike for the 41st day in a row, PPS added.
Kayed Al-Fasfous, 34, from the city of Dura has been detained since May 2, 2023. Al-Fasfous is a former detainee who spent about 7 years in Israeli prisons, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.
Al-Fasfous went on an open-ended hunger strike in 2021 that lasted 131 days as well as in 2019 in protest of his administrative detention. It is reported that all of his siblings were arrested and he is married and has a daughter.
PPS pointed out that Khalouf is a former prisoner who spent years in Israeli jails, noting that he carried out an open-ended hunger strike that lasted for 67 days in protest against his administrative detention in 2019.
The Palestinian detainee Maher al-Akhras, 52, from Jenin joined the hunger strike in protest of his detention and he has been on hunger strike for the 22nd day in a row.
The Israeli occupation has escalated its administrative detention policy against Palestinians as the number of administrative detainees currently exceeds 760, including minors, women, and the elderly, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Commission.
The Commission added that 80 percent of the administrative detainees are former prisoners who spent years in the prisons most were administrative detentions.