Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday issued an administrative arrest warrant for a Jewish resident of Samaria’s Binyamin Region, drawing the ire of right-wing activists and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
“The third administrative arrest warrant issued to a settler since the outbreak of the war. Someone has got confused and forgot who is the enemy and who is the beloved,” Ben-Gvir tweeted.
Elisha Yered, an activist in the region and a former spokesman for Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit Party, claimed Gallant’s move was part of a concerted campaign “to eliminate the farms and hills in Judea and Samaria, which are stopping the Arab takeover of the nation’s lands.
“The campaign of persecution does not stop, even for a moment,” wrote Yered on X (formerly Twitter).
Gallant issued his own statement in response, charging that “anyone taking the law into their own hands interferes with the security services and harms the war effort.”
Administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to hold individuals without charge and without the ability to meet lawyers, a practice generally reserved for Palestinian Authority Arab terrorism suspects.
Activists have claimed that the number of administrative arrest warrants issued against Jews has skyrocketed since Gallant took office. The Likud Party member signed more orders than any of his predecessors since Labor’s Amir Peretz served in the post between 2006 and 2007.
The person put under arrest on Wednesday was named by activists on social media as 26-year-old Tal Yinon Dardick, a farmer and father of four from the area of Kochav Hashachar, northeast of Jerusalem.
Dardick was initially arrested by the police on Monday on unspecified charges, according to the HaKol HaYehudi news website, but was slapped with a four-month administrative detention order just hours before his remand hearing was set to take place.
An attorney for the Honenu legal aid group said the detention order was approved by Gallant due to “external pressure on the State of Israel” and claimed that the evidence against his client was “problematic.”
According to Israeli Police figures made public in November, in the period from the war’s start on Oct. 7 through Nov. 7, police registered 97 incidents of illegal activities attributed to Jews in Judea and Samaria, down from 184 offenses in the same period in 2022.
A leaked Israel Defense Forces document likewise suggests that anti-Arab violence in Judea and Samaria has been dropping. Most of those minimal incidents of “anti-Arab violence” are responses to Arab instigations, attacks and terrorism.
“I ask everyone, including my American colleagues, not to use the term ‘settler violence,’ it does not represent the residents of Judea and Samaria,” War Cabinet member and former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“There is violence by extremists—that should be condemned and all tools should be used against them,” Gantz stated, noting: “There are communities [in Judea and Samaria] where 80% of the men are on the front lines.”
Speaking alongside Gantz on Tuesday, Gallant said: “This phrase [‘settler violence’], which attributes the violence to a group from Judea and Samaria, is not true. I sign [arrest] orders—quite a few of the extremists come from outside Judea and Samaria.”
Their remarks came shortly after Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a “visa restriction policy” under which Washington will bar the entry into the U.S. of those accused of undermining “peace, security or stability in the West Bank.
“We have underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank,” Blinken said on Tuesday.