In August 1969, head of Special Functions Office at the Hadera Subdistrict police, wrote to the General Security Service asking to put two Israeli citizens under administrative detention. The two, a 59-year-old man and his 23-year-old son lived in Khirbet Sharaye’, a small village in the ‘Ara valley, south of Um al-Fahm, and close to the Green Line.

The officer, Chief-Inspector R. told the General Security Service (GSS) that the investigation of the two on suspicion of “contacting hostile elements” had ended in failure: not enough evidence had been turned up to prosecute the two. At the same time, the suspicion that the father and son were “nationalists and may be connected to or maybe even assisting hostile elements beyond the Green Line” was “growing significantly”: it was discovered that a man described as a tobacco salesman from the West Bank had visited the family home, and because the son had been found to be untruthful in a lie detector test, during which he was asked if he had hosted foreigners in his home.

The background provided in the police officer’s letter reveals another possible reason for R’s request to the GSS: “The aforesaid two, and members of their household, are the only people in Khirbet Sharaye’ who, as recalled, have refused and continue to refuse to reach an agreement with the Israel Land Authority and/or the Jewish National Fund toward a resolution of their land issues in the area as part of the Land Concentration Law. Because the two insist on exchanging their plots independently and because they have incited their neighbors not to compromise with the authorities over land in Kh. Sharaye’, our institutions have been unable to procure enough land for the Mei-Ami outpost”.

The officer’s request was not granted. When asked by the Special Functions Branch of the Israel Police National Headquarters, Chief-Inspector R. replied that the GSS had decided not to ask for the father and son’s administrative arrest, and they were, therefore, released after 30 days in detention.

Administrative detention allows denying the liberty of detainees due to an alleged threat they pose, without presenting evidence that they had broken the law, and without the detainees having any real possibility of mounting a defense against the allegations. The letter from Chief-Inspector R., which was found in one of the police files in the Israel State Archives demonstrates how administrative detention, which lacks the protections afforded in a criminal proceeding, can be used for extraneous purposes under the pretext of security considerations.

The village of Khirbet Sharaye’ no longer exists.


Chief-Inspector R.'s letter to General Security Service

Chief-Inspector R. reports: request denied