Ofer - Minors, Palestinians staying illegally in Israel

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Norah Orlow, Ofra Ben-Artzi (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Courtroom 2  (Ofra Ben-Artzi reporting) 

Even though Wednesday is not juveniles’ day in court, there were two underage detaineesinfo-icon today, one, Ahmed Muhammad Haled, 13, is recognized as a minor by the Israeli authorities, so he was tried by a juvenile court judge, Sharon Rivlin-Ahai. He is suspected of “manufacturing and throwing an incendiary object”. His defense, Atty. Ahmad Safiya told us that his client would be released later today. (ID 402797351)

The other minor, Abdel Rahman Muhammad Titi, 16, is considered an adult by the Israeli authorities, unlike his neighbor from the “Youths of the Hill” (outpost settlers) who is considered a minor and is treated accordingly by the court. Titi is a high school student, suspected of throwing rocks in his village Al Arub. He was arrested two months ago at his parents’ house in the middle of the night. (Case No.4002/10, ID 859553489)

We have previously reported on the “method of hunting minors”: The soldiers enter a village, wait outside the school until classes are over, then provoke the students by engaging them. This leads to throwing rocks, and then, in the dead of night, the soldiers abduct the kids from their bedrooms and bring them to the interrogation rooms at the GSS. Hundreds of such minors are in custody at any given time.It is our contention that picking on Palestinian minors is a calculated and well-planned strategy: the massive incrimination of an entire generation, turning some of them into collaborators and stool pigeons, thus compromising the next generation. This kind of treatment “sears the consciousness” of the younger generation, preparing them for adult life under occupation. The system must have experts and advisors, manuals and bibliographies to aid it in this undertaking.

The lists of today's hearings indicate that a violation that until recently was quite common – "membership, activity and holding a position in an unlawful organization" – is rarer now. It has been replaced by charges of forging Israeli ID cards and attempting to enter Israel illegally. Could it be that these violations are a reflection of economic distress? After all, the West Bank [like Gaza] is also under a kind of siege. What, then, about the much-touted economic boom in the Palestinian Territories – could it be an optical illusion?

In Justice Arye Dorni’s court a criminal trial is in progress.

The defendant, Fuad Abed Hassan Mahareb, ID 971028592 - Case No. 5342/09, has been in custody for a year for a property violation.

Inside the Green line, a person is released on bail for such violations(In today’s news we heard of an Israeli policeman who killed an Israeli cabdriver: he was not only released but went back to work in the police force…)

The trial is in the evidentiary stage. A witness, Yaron Litman, testifies for the prosecution. Two important details emerge from his testimony:

1. There was no violation: a chain of events was stopped before a crime was committed.

2. At a crucial point, without any explanation, a Police Officer named Avigdor, suddenly showed up, which gives rise to the suspicion that this was a sting operation by the police (perhaps also by the GSS?).

In November 2009 Yaron Litman, the witness, advertised that he had 30 coffee machines for sale. In a phone conversation he closed a deal with a guy named Jamal. They agreed that once money was transferred from the Arab bank to the witness’s account, a truck with the coffee machines would be sent to a certain location in Lod where the transaction would be concluded. The witness waited for the money to be transferred. Jamal and his partner, Said, were anxious to clinch the deal: they called every hour to egg him on. Their truck was waiting at the appointed place. And then, according to the witness, at the point when they claimed that they had the bank’s assurance that the money had been transferred to Israel, a police officer suddenly appeared declaring: “The bank stated that no money had been transferred… contact was made with Avigdor, a policeman… who asked if I had dealings with people from the territories. I gave him all the details…”

Not all the facts of the story are clear to us. For instance, how did Jamal turn into a witness for the prosecution testifying against Fuad. There are many holes in this case.

The defendant is wearing civilian clothes since this is a criminal, not a security, case. Once more we ask the rhetorical question: where else in the free world is a citizen tried on criminal charges in a military court?


Courtroom 5 (Norah Orlow reporting)

Judge: Major Shmuel Fleischman

Prosecutor: Captain Tamar Bukia

Defense: Nery Ramati

Defendant: Suleiman Salem Issa Adara, ID850883216  accused of attacking the security officer of Havat Ma’on [an outpost]. He denies the charges.


Suleiman Adara is a shepherd from the village of A-Tawani in the South Hebron Mountains. The settlers of nearby Havat Ma’on constantly harass the villagers in order to dispossess them of their land. One such harassment occurred in 2008. Suleiman was tending to his sheep in the meadow when settlers from Havat Ma’on attacked him with tear gas, demanding he and his flock leave the area. Suleiman later went to his brother’s house to calm down and recover from the assault. At the same time, Gedalya, the security officer of Havat Ma’on lodged a complaint with the police, claiming that a guy named Nasser had approached his jeep, opened the door and dealt him a blow, breaking his glasses. A few hours later, the police arrested Suleiman at his brother’s house. At the police investigation Suleiman stated that he had not been present at the site where Gedalya claimed he was attacked; he had been attacked by settlers who sprayed him with tear gas, and besides his name is not Nasser.

(see previous report on the case: http://www.machsomwatch.org/en/ofer_mon_7610_morning )

An evidentiary hearing was supposed to take place today and Police Investigator Yitzhak Zuarez – who interrogated Suleiman that day - was summoned to testify for the defense, but he (again) did not show up in court.

Since a subpoena issued to the witness Yitzhak Zuarez on 21.7.10 did not take effect, the defense moved that the court enforce the subpoena.

The judge ordered a new subpoena. The court's office is to issue the subpoena today.

The next evidentiary hearing will be set for January or beginning of February 2011.