A Palestinian who was abducted Friday outside of Nablus in a joint operation by Israeli military and police forces has challenged his abduction on the grounds that Israeli police were acting “outside of Israel” by abducting him in the Occupied West Bank, and that this renders his abduction illegal under international law.An Israeli judge has allowed Mohamed Beni Gama’s lawyer to submit the argument, which could have broad implications for some of the 8,000 Palestinians currently imprisoned inside Israel. .
According to an Israeli police spokesperson, Beni Gama’s case could potentially provide a precedent for other Palestinians to appeal their cases based on the same grounds.
Palestinians are regularly abducted by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip), with an average of 200 taken per month into Israeli prison facilities (this number is based on a compilation of daily news reports, averaged over time).
According to Beni Gama’s lawyer, Nachmi Finblatt, the use of Israeli police in the Palestinian Territories is equivalent to sending domestic police into a foreign country to arrest a suspect, askng rhetorically, “Would the police consider abducting a French national from France if they suspected him of breaking into a business in Israel?”
Beni Gama is a suspect in a case of ‘breaking and entering’ in Israel. In charges such as these, if the suspect is abroad, a special request must be made to the Attorney General’s office to extradite them from the foreign country, and the government of that country must be informed and involved.
In the case of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the ‘government’ of the Palestinian Territories is the Israeli military, which has occupied the land since 1967. The ‘Palestinian Authority’ has no real authority, as it does not control the land, borders, air, water or governance of the Palestinian Territories.
If Beni Gama is found by the Israeli court to have been illegally extradited from the Palestinian Territories, the ruling will have wide implications.