Beit Ummar, Nabi Yunis, Mon 8.7.13, Morning
General information about the procedure by which the police blacklist people from entering Israel: Conditional, Restriction on entry, Police Commissioner’s criteria
Conditional refers to a suspended sentence. If, within a specified period (one, two, three years or more), a person again commits the crime for which he was sentenced – he’ll be imprisoned for the length of time specified in the original sentence. “Conditional,” of course, is a decision made by a judge in court and doesn’t include an order to prevent a person from obtaining a work permit for Israel or for the settlements.
Restriction on entry is a sweeping punishment imposed by the police on Palestinians in the occupied territories who have been sentenced in court, and sometimes also on those for whom the police opened a file but closed it without a trial. The police themselves close most such files (others are closed with the help of an attorney) because of a lack of evidence or because they’re considered to be of minor public interest.
Restriction on entry is a punishment that sets a defined time period during which a person may not receive a permit to work in Israel or the settlements – from one and one half years to many years. This punishment, not the Conditional, is what puts the person on the police blacklist.
The Police Commissioner’s criteria are guidelines according to which the Department of Entry Restrictions in the national police headquarters determines the length of time a person will remain on the police blacklist.
The vast majority of offenses subject to restrictions of entry are committed during a desperate search for sources of livelihood in Israel, because there’s no work for Palestinians in the occupied territories. In most cases that’s also the reason for offenses such as forging permits and documents.
The criteria were classified until 2007 when, after a suit by the Association for Civil Rights, the Supreme Court ordered the police to publish them. They were published on the police web site and also as an appendix to our booklet, Police Procedures in the Occupied Territories: A guide for the perplexed.
In the past year the criteria disappeared from the police web site and have apparently been changed and made more onerous. Requests to the police to publish the criteria immediately have not availed.
The criteria include the right of the police “to examine the criteria from time to time” and alter them. Moreover: “The police are also entitled to limit a person’s entry to the territory of the State of Israel for reasons not specified above (i.e.: the criteria) if a police commander considers that permitting that person entry to the territory of the State of Israel may undermine public order or security.”
People blacklisted by the police whom we meet in the occupied territories expect that when the “conditional” period imposed by the court has ended, they’ll be able to receive a work permit. They’re wrong. In most cases, the length of the period during which entry is denied is longer than that of the “conditional,” often very much longer. People are surprised that they’re still on the police blacklist; they’re sure an unseen hand extended their “conditional” period. They’re unaware that conditional isn’t equivalent to restriction on entry, nor that approximately one month after the court sentence is imposed, police computers at DCO offices are notified of the length of the period of restriction on entry that was imposed.
As noted above, the Department of Entry Restrictions in the national police headquarters computes the length of the restriction according to criteria established by the commissioner.
Some people are also blacklisted by the police because “intelligence” is available – that is, someone said they have a criminal intent.
Such a restriction has no time limit.
A man awaited us who, in order to find out why he had been blacklisted by the police, had to obtain a “Form” and a “No Criminal Record” document. He’d gotten the “Form” from the policeman at the DCO, but at the Etzion police station they didn’t give him the “No Criminal Record,” so he needs an attorney’s help to obtain it. That will cost him a few hundred shekels.
No one awaited us.
08:00 Beit Ummar
A few people ask advice regarding police and Shabak matters. One man wants help recovering his belongings. Here’s the story: after completing his sentence in the Hadarim prison he was released in the evening in Qalqilya (so he could get home to Beit Umar). The storeroom was closed so they gave him a note confirming what had been taken from him: a belt, mobile phone, wallet and ID card. He’s supposed to take that note to the Hadarim prison (in the Sharon) and obtain his belongings. The only problem is that he’s on the police blacklist and can’t get an entry permit to Israel. One of our colleagues in the Sharon will try to obtain his belongings using a power of attorney.
09:00 Nabi Yunis
People ask for advice on matters relating to the police and to traffic fines they owe that have ballooned, in Israel and in the occupied territories.
In our previous report, 13.6.13, we reported on Hussein whose entry restriction ended on 16.5.13 but whose police blacklisting was still in force, and who’d gone a few times a week from Husan to the Etzion DCO to find out whether it had been cancelled. On 30.6.13 he was informed that it had been.
Meanwhile, Aiman telephoned us on 10.7.13. He’d been sentenced in 2010, and blacklisted until 16.6.13. He waited for that date patiently, but the blacklisting still hasn’t been cancelled. He’s running back and forth, and asks for help. When it’s cancelled, we’ll let you know.