Ofer Prison - Administrative detention

It was a day like any other for Ghassan. Nothing happened, nothing odd interrupted what he has called normality if one could define it as such. Settlers threw stones at the village houses scaring those children who were playing outside, then they targeted Palestinian cars on the Bypass road, namely the Israeli road that connects settlements throughout the West Bank. Ghassan has seen settlements and outposts springing up everywhere, day by day. He has proved evidence of their increase in number while he spent his days in the fields in small villages nearby Nablus, the beating heart of Palestine during the olive harvest.
While he was watching the television with his parents, Israeli soldiers burst into the house. This has happened before, Ghassan indeed has gone through such violence several times throughout his thirty years.

He remained unfazed when the soldiers handcuffed him with a plastic tie and blindfolded him. Then they dragged him out into the silence and darkness of the night, contrasted only by the screams of those Palestinians who rushed to the scene and by the lights from the houses that turned on because of the bustle. He got in the car, silently, without a word: he knew how it goes, a few days in prison and then a show trial in Ofer, within the fake justice of the Israeli military courts.
But this time it was different, as Ghassan realized when the judge issued an administrative detention order. A dreadful sentence that meant everything and nothing: being locked in a cell, without charges, without the possibility of mounting a defense, with no chance of knowing why he was there. The detention was valid for two months, but Ghassan knew that this did not mean he could be released thereafter: he feared to enter that vortex, like any other Palestinian, since he could have stayed in prison lifelong, without charge. It meant never knowing when he would see his parents, his friends, and the sun of Palestine again. Ghassan is still there. After two months, the detention order was extended, his period of confinement is lengthened with no definite time limit. Ghassan is still there, wondering if he will ever see the sun of his Palestine again.

Administrative detention is a unicum under Israeli laws. It’s based on the assumption of a future law violation by the subject of the measure, so it is applied without any trial, nor a precise charge or an established time limit. Administrative detention is applied on the order of the Regional Military Commander on the base of “reasonable allegations” of a threat for the national security. The measure has a limit of six months, renewable without any maximum time limit established. Although it could be considered as an exceptional measure, Israel uses it to avoid the trial or for intimidating purpose. Under international law, administrative detention is illegal. Every year hundreds of Palestinians, included minors, have been taken in administrative detention into Israeli prisons.