Written answers

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Middle East Peace Process

9:00 pm

Photo of Pádraig MacLochlainnPádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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Question 127: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the arrest and detention of a person (details supplied) by the Israeli authorities under their administrative detention procedure, the fact that they are currently more than 50 days into a hunger strike; and if he will support the call by Amnesty International for the Israeli authorities to try or release them immediately. [8010/12]

Photo of Pádraig MacLochlainnPádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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Question 128: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will call on the Israeli Government to cease the practice of administrative detentions as called by various human rights organisations. [8011/12]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 128 together.

I am aware of the case referred to by the Deputy. The subject is generally acknowledged to be a leader of Islamic Jihad. The circumstances of the subject's hunger strike are not fully clear. He is understood to be on hunger strike in protest over what he calls his unjust detention and mistreatment by Israeli authorities. Mr. Adnan was originally detained on 17 December and is at present held in a civilian hospital in Israel where he is being attended by civilian medical staff, not by military or prison doctors. He has been visited on four occasions so far by the International Committee of the Red Cross. I am however concerned that his hunger strike may now be reaching the point where his health could be seriously endangered. We have raised this case with our partners at EU level in Israel, and are monitoring the situation closely.

Unfortunately, States facing serious terrorist threat sometimes have to enact emergency powers, and it cannot be denied that Israel faces such threats. But any such powers should be as minimal as possible, carefully safeguarded and in accordance with international law. The present requirement in Israel is that detention orders be regularly renewed, and the evidence on which they are sought presented to the judge.

Nonetheless, and particularly in a situation where the Palestinian population live under permanent military rule, there is a clear risk of the abuse of such powers. I am concerned that detention orders, rather than an extraordinary measure only applied in the most exceptional cases, are used as part of the broader system of control of Palestinians and of legitimate protest as well as violent action. Nor can it be right that such detention orders be renewed indefinitely, without a case coming to trial. I therefore support the call of NGOs and others that this practice be brought to an end.

Ireland and our EU partners have represented these views to the Israeli authorities for some time, and the number of cases of administrative detention has fallen during that period. We will continue to press on this issue.

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