Invoking British Mandate-Era Act, Israel Orders 8 Palestinian Residents of Jerusalem to Appear before Court

Invoking British Mandate-Era Act, Israel Orders 8 Palestinian Residents of Jerusalem to Appear before Court

Israeli police arrest a Palestinian political activist. Photo via Adalah Center

Israeli police on Saturday handed eight Palestinian youths from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya summons to appear before an Israeli court for allegedly violating night curfew, according to one of the summoned youths.

Anwar Obeid told WAFA News Agency that police and security services raided his family home early on Saturday and handed him a summons to appear before the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday

He said seven other young residents of his neighborhood were also summoned by Israeli police over the same allegations.

The eight were earlier placed under nighttime curfew for allegedly throwing stones at police in their neighborhood.

Israel has invoked an emergency act from the pre-1948 British Mandate-era to impose night curfew on the Issawiya youths for periods ranging from two to four months.

Over the last several months, Issawiya’s 20,000 Palestinian residents have been subjected to daily harassment and brutality from the Israeli police, who regularly raided their neighborhood, mainly at night and early morning, harassed students going to their schools, and would fire teargas canisters at homes at odd hours of the day causing several health problems, mainly to the elderly and youngsters.

In 1945, the British Mandate government enacted the Defense (Emergency) Regulations. They included, in part, provisions against illegal immigration, establishing military tribunals to try civilians without granting the right of appeal, allowing sweeping searches and seizures, prohibiting publication of books and newspapers, demolishing houses, detaining individuals administratively for an indefinite period, sealing off particular territories, and imposing curfew.

In 1948, Israel incorporated the Defense Regulations into its law, pursuant to section 11 of the Government and Law Arrangements Ordinance, except for "changes resulting from establishment of the State or its authorities", said Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories – B’Tselem.

In 1951, following debate on administrative detention, the Knesset plenum decided that the Defense Regulations oppose the basic principles of democracy and directed the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee to draft a bill for their repeal. Nevertheless, the Regulations were not abolished, apparently because they served as the legal basis for the military rule then imposed on Israel's Arab citizens.

Over the years, Israel used these regulations extensively in the Occupied Territories to punish and deter. The Regulations served as the authority for Israel to demolish and seal hundreds of houses, deport residents, administratively detain thousands of persons, and impose closures and curfews on towns and villages.

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