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Israeli Security Officials Place Palestinian Activist Under Detention

September 14, 1987|CHARLES P. WALLACE | Times Staff Writer

JERUSALEM — One of the most prominent Palestinian figures in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 has been placed under six months' administrative detention by Israeli security authorities, it was disclosed Sunday.

Faisal Husseini, who is a leader of Jerusalem's prominent Arab Studies Society, was arrested at his apartment Saturday night by a large contingent of Israeli border police, according to Israel's official radio.

According to the broadcast, Husseini was handed a so-called administrative detention order for six months. He is scheduled to appear in court today to have the order confirmed.

No Reason Given

The Israel radio broadcast said no reason was given for Husseini's detention, which was ordered by Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, apart from "security reasons and public safety." The radio added, however, that authorities believe Husseini to be the chief operative in the Israeli-occupied territories for Fatah, the guerrilla group headed by Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

It quoted a security source as saying that Husseini has resumed unspecified "activities" for which he had been jailed earlier this year.

Husseini is the most prominent Palestinian to be detained in the occupied territories since last year, when Akram Haniyeh, the editor of the East Jerusalem newspaper As Shaab (the People), was arrested for his alleged ties with Fatah. He was later deported.

The detention of such Palestinian figures as Husseini and Haniyeh has removed the top echelon from the leadership of the Palestinian nationalist movement in the West Bank and other occupied territories.

Detention Without Trial

It is a crime in Israel to be a member of a terrorist organization. It is believed that the authorities prefer to use administrative detention rather than criminal charges in cases such as Husseini's because they do not need to reveal their sources in court.

Administrative detention is one of the emergency powers left over from the era of the British mandate and permits detention without trial for up to six months.

Husseini was an open supporter of the PLO's political goals but attempted to avoid any overt connection to the guerrilla group in order to sidestep prosecution.

In addition to his work for the Arab Studies Society, Husseini was part of the "Palestinian-Israeli Committee Confronting the Iron Fist," a group of Palestinians and Jews who plan to hold a march later this week to commemorate the massacre in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Beirut in 1982.

Requests Denied

Requests to the authorities to hold the march have been denied, according to the group.

Husseini was released from an earlier three-month detention order two months ago.

Suspected of carrying out "hostile activity," according to Israeli radio, Husseini was interrogated by the authorities 10 days ago.

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