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5.8.2014

The HCJ recommended that HaMoked withdraw its petition for the publication of the names of the Gaza detainees held by the military: the detainees' rights – which the list of names could have helped guarantee – will remain unprotected

On July 29, 2014, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to instruct the state to provide it with a complete name list of the Palestinians who were arrested during the fighting in Gaza and transferred to military facilities inside Israel. HaMoked stressed that given the current situation in Gaza, it was unreasonable to wait for individual tracing requests, and stressed that the right to notification about a person's arrest and place of detention is a basic right of both the detainee and his or her relatives.

In response to the petition, the state argued that the military was not required to transfer to HaMoked any information relating to the detainees from Gaza, given that the arrangement reached in the Hirbawi case concerned only West Bank detainees; furthermore, the agreement, whereby the military control center would respond to individual tracing requests from Gaza during the current operation, was beyond any legal requirement; however, given "the inherent difficulties arising from the situation", it would waive the demand that individual requests include written confirmation(!) that the applicant was related to the alleged detainee, and would accept just "a written request indicating that the resident's relatives applied for HaMoked's assistance to trace him".

In the hearing, held on August 4, 2014, the justices supported the state's position. Supreme Court President Grunis inquired "where is this basic right [the right to notification about a person's whereabouts] during times of war inscribed?" and opted to focus the hearing on HaMoked's right of standing as a public petitioner. Justice Zylbertal criticized HaMoked for supposedly seeking "to obtain a status, the legal basis for which is unclear; a kind of Red Cross that collects all the names, and the state must provide". The court completely ignored HaMoked's claim that the concealed whereabouts of the detainees allowed the state to trample their rights – including the rights to due process, proper detention conditions, and the right to be free of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – as recurrently happened in the past.

Given the state's announcement that permanent detention orders under the Incarceration of Illegal Combatants Law had not been issued, and following the justices' recommendation, HaMoked withdrew the petition.
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