Ofer - Danger to Regional Security, Interrogation of Witness

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Hagit Shlonsky (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Upon entering the compound we met Gaby Lasky, and we proceeded to Courtroom 1 where she was to represent Adnan Ahmad Dar Hatab, ID card no. 914116876, 25 years old, resident of Beit Sira. The accused had been released and was sitting in the audience section.

The quoted paragraphs are from the indictment.

Adnan is accused of disturbing the peace, injuring a soldier and escaping from custody: "on 24.3.06 (two years ago) or thereabout, he committed an injurious act that may have resulted in disturbance of the peace or the public welfare..."

Which public is Adnan supposed to have threatened? "...on said date, at the building site of the Separation Wall near the village of Beit Sira or thereabout... the accused took part in a demonstration against the Separation Fence."

Here are the details of the offense: "in the above mentioned place and on the above mentioned date, the accused attacked a soldier or used violence or threatened the soldier or insulted him or did something disrespectful to the soldier or his status..."

In short, Adnan is accused of biting the soldier's finger. How did the finger of Border Policeman Master-Sergeant Daniel Lishinsky end up in Adnan's mouth?

The defense summons a witness who was at the scene.

The witness is an 80-year-old man, with a swarthy, wrinkled face, wearing a stylish traditional coat and a Keffiyah. He poses a serious problem for the interpreter who is used to translating the judge's clichés from Hebrew into Arabic. This time he is called upon to render the guileless peasant's statements from Arabic into Hebrew. Consequently, he is berated by both sides- with good reason - for his faulty, erroneous translation. He feels uncomfortable since he is required to translate expressions rarely heard in these quarters: the witness insists on saying "Jews" when referring to "soldiers".

At any rate, the witness's version is markedly different from the indictment. True, in both cases, the soldier's finger was in Adnan's teeth; this fact is not contested - there is even a photo in a an Arab newspaper - but the circumstances are different. The witness says that he came to the demonstration against the Separation Fence. Due to his advanced age, he was late in arriving at the site. The other villagers were standing behind the barbed wire, imploring the soldiers to have mercy and not separate them from their lands. The witness did not say this in so many words, but the soldiers reacted to these importunes with typical Zionist behavior: threw smoke grenades and shot in the air. The villagers began to scatter, and so did Adnan. The aged witness was unable to flee, and he was 10 meters away when he saw a Border Policeman attack Adnan. He threw him to the ground and held his cudgel to his throat threatening to choke him. This was his report to the court, which explains how the soldier's finger found its way to Adnan's teeth: Adnan tried to save himself from strangulation. A photographer caught this on camerainfo-icon; in the photo Adnan is seen lying on his back, the cudgel pressed to his throat and the soldier's finger in his mouth.

In the indictment the incident is described thus: "At the above mentioned time and place, when Master-Sergeant Daniel Lishinsky of the Border Police attempted to arrest the accused, the accused resisted violently. He acted wildly, and when Lishinsky tried to restrain him, the accused grabbed one of his fingers and bit it hard. Despite the soldier's requests Adnan did not let go. When Lishinsky finally let go of the accused, the latter fled the scene."

Please re-read the last two sentences. No commentary is needed.

We'll try to follow on up this court case.