Netanyahu promises crackdown on Jewish extremists
Published 04/08/2015 | 02:30
The jailing of Jewish militants without trial has been sanctioned in Israel after a West Bank arson attack in which a Palestinian toddler was killed.
The child died in the blaze caused by attackers motivated by revenge.
Now the country has approved the detention without trial of citizens accused of violence against Palestinians. The decision was cleared by Israel's security cabinet in a new crackdown.
The extension to Israelis of so-called "administrative detention", a practice commonly applied to Palestinian militant suspects and condemned internationally, laid bare authorities' frustration at failing to curb Jewish ultra-nationalist attacks.
Friday's torching of a Palestinian home killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe and seriously injured his parents and brother, causing an outcry abroad and vows by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to crack down on what he called terrorism by "criminals in our nation".
There was no claim of responsibility for the arson at Duma village.
Graffiti in Hebrew reading "revenge" at the site was consistent with past vandalism and other hate crimes by bands of young Jewish zealots targeting Arabs, Christians, peace activists or Israeli army property.
With no arrests yet made for the arson, some Israeli commentators questioned the resolve of security services which, when responding to Palestinian attacks, often round up suspects en masse.
Such detainees are sometimes held without trial for months, a measure Israel says is required to prevent further violence in the absence of sufficient evidence to prosecute, or where going to court would risk exposing the identity of informants.
Mr Netanyahu's security cabinet decided to extend such arrests to Israelis as well "to take all steps necessary to bring those responsible to justice and prevent such attacks from occurring in the future".
In a statement it said the methods approved included "the use of administrative detentions in appropriate cases".