Ofer - Conspiracy to Kill, Incriminators

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Ivonne Mansbach, Hava Halevi

Translation: Marganit W.


Judge: Etty Adar



Salem Othman Salem Zaharan – ID 854268968

Muatassem Mahmoud Yusuf Zaharan – ID 854852225

Ahed Issa Yusuf Zaharan – ID 864707619


Defense: Atty. Anan Al Khatib, from Labib Habib law firm.


The charge: arson (defined in the protocol as “other terrorist act”).

The three men are related, probably cousins. The father of one of them reported that two and a half years ago, in high summer, they took a break from work, went to the woods and made a bonfire to brew coffee. Strong winds caused a conflagration and the rest is history.

In Wikipedia the incident is recorded thus:

“On November 25, 2016, Palestinian terrorists set a big fire around the village of Halamish (Neveh Tzuf). The village was evacuated and much damage was caused: 40 houses caught fire, 15 of them burned to the ground.”

This Wikipedia description is highly suspicious: how did the editor know that they were “terrorists”? When it was written, the three had not had their day in court yet. They were in detention and no decision had been given in the case. We remember well that during those 5 days in November, there were several fires in the Jerusalem Mountains, a huge conflagration in Haifa, blazes in the villages of Nahaf and Sajour and in Menashe Forest. That same day fire was reignited in Moshav Dolev, and the following day near Hadera and Zichron Yacov. To the best of our knowledge, nobody was charged with setting fires in Haifa, Hadera, Zichron and Jerusalem. But the three members of the Zaharan family have been in jail for two and a half years with no end in sight.


The  military courts, as a branch of the occupation forces, does its best to thin out the rebellious population – young Palestinians who form the backbone of the resistance – mostly by keeping them in custody for inordinately long periods.


The father told us that the prosecution moves for a 5-year penalty and a fine of 30,500 shekels each – a total of 100,000 shekels.

There is no verdict yet, but the punishment looms.

The father’s permit to work inside Israel has been revoked and he supports his family by doing odd jobs in the territories.


The hearing today did not cover the charges or the fire: like all the hearings that day, the judge and the attorney discussed the date for the next hearing. The interpreter, as usual, did not bother to translate most of what was said in court. I wonder why the judges don’t pay attention to this fact. After all, justice must be seen and heard.

The next hearing is set for 23.10.19.


Yasser Munther Fareed Shtiya – ID 852294784

Charge: conspiracy to cause death.


Yasser’s next hearing is also set for 23.10.19. He, too, was arrested two years ago. His case is another example of the attempt to weaken and dwindle the occupied population.


Five people are implicated in the homicide attempt. We are not sure if they are related, but the description of the charges points to incrimination. Who the incriminators were -neighbors, friends, family members - we don’t know, nor do we know the circumstances; attorneys no longer try to deal with this aspect, as there is no chance of ascertaining those facts. We are not likely to find out either, since evidentiary trials are very rare. Most proceedings involve bureaucratic haggling over dates and on plea bargains, which depend on admission by the accused. Thus, the circumstances of the cases remain nebulous.


In all, we attended 7 hearings: we report on 2.

There were no arguments and no translation.