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18 youths detained in Ma’aleh Rehavam protests

Thursday, February 14, 2013, 10:20 Following the destruction of a neighborhood in the Etzion Bloc community Ma’aleh Rehavam spontaneous demonstrations took place throughout Israel. Eighteen youths were detained, some of whom have already been released. The rest will be brought to court today (Thursday, February 14) for a deliberation on their remand extension. On Wednesday, February 13 starting in the morning army and police forces concentrated in Ma’aleh Rehavam. The forces blocked all ways of entry to the community and prepared to demolish houses. Within a short period of time they began to demolish an entire neighborhood which according to the army was constructed without the requisite permits. According to residents of Ma’aleh Rehavam the houses were legally constructed on state land: the report presented by Judge Edmund Levi at the request of the government clarified that there is no legal problem with the houses. The report also recommends that the neighborhood be given a permit. In response to the demolition a wave of demonstrations broke out throughout Israel, joining the many political and public figures who voiced a protest. The police implemented a strict policy and dispersed demonstrators with an unusually large number of policemen. In total 18 youths were detained. During the demolition two protesters, one of whom is a married resident of the community, were detained in Ma’aleh Rehavam. Later in the day both detainees were unconditionally released. Several dozen residents of Beit El went out and blocked the road leading to the Arab city of Ramallah. According to police some of the protesters attempted to damage Arab cars passing the site. Two minors were detained, one during the protest and the other after he had returned to Beit El. The detainees were taken to the Sha’ar Binyamin Police Station. Later that day one of the detainees was released and the other spent the night in remand and will be taken this (Thursday, February 14) morning to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. Also at Zion Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem several dozen youth protested the demolition of the neighborhood in Ma’aleh Rehavam. Two minors were detained and taken to the Kisleh Police Station in the Old City. In the evening they were unconditionally released to their homes. Near one of the entrances to Jerusalem several dozen yeshiva students protested and blocked the entrance to Begin Highway. According to police the tires of a police car were punctured. Three youths, including one minor, were detained. The detainees were taken to the Moriah Police Station in Jerusalem. This morning (Thursday) the detainees will be taken to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court where they will be conditionally released by agreement with the police. The three detainees were represented by attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir on behalf of Honenu. At the border police base near Beit Guvrin several dozen youth blocked the entrance to the base in protest of the participation of border policemen in the demolition at Ma’aleh Rehavam. A twenty year old was detained and taken to the Kiryat Gat Police Station. This (Thursday) morning the detainee will be brought to the Ashkelon Magistrate Court for a deliberation on extending his remand. On Wednesday evening a protest took place opposite the Knesset building in Jerusalem. During the protest seven youths were detained and taken to the Moriah Police Station in Jerusalem. On this (Thursday) morning the police released six of the detainees. The remaining detainee, who refuses to identify himself, will be brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court where attorney Ben-Gvir will represent him. During the evening hours on Wednesday police detectives and GSS coordinators raided the dormitory of a yeshiva in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachalaot. The security forces came with a search warrant and a detention warrant. One yeshiva student was detained. After the dormitory was searched documents and the computer belonging to the detainee, who works for the news site HaKol HaYehudi, were confiscated. The detainee was interrogated on suspicion of organizing the wave of protests in Jerusalem. It should be noted that issuing a detention warrant, which requires the authorization of a judge, so rapidly is an unusual occurrence which shows the policy and order of priorities of the Israeli Police. After interrogation it was agreed that the youth would be released to house arrest for three days. During the night the youth was transferred to the Ariel Police Station where, according to the police, he was wanted for an additional interrogation. At 3:00 A.M today (Thursday) he was interrogated and later in the morning he will be brought to the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court for a deliberation on extending his remand. In summary 18 protesters were detained, five of whom were released yesterday (Wednesday) after interrogation, nine of whom will be released this morning by agreement with the police and four of whom will be brought to court today for a deliberation on remand extension. Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who briefed and represented most of the detainees on behalf of Honenu, warns about the unrestrained conduct of the police. “The Israeli Police is obsessively trying to put as many youth as in a detention center, without any justification whatsoever. There has been no occurrence similar to the detention of large number of youth for incidents for which there is doubt that there is just cause for even calling them in for interrogation. I hope that today in the magistrate court a limit and a red-line will be marked. In a democratic country it is permitted and even obligatory to demonstrate and protest.”

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