Al Nashshash, Beit Ummar, Etzion DCL, Mon 2.9.13, Morning

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Tova S., Chaya A. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.


General information about police conduct in the territories:  Problems obtaining a “criminal record” certificate.


Recall that in order for a Palestinian to understand why they’ve been blacklisted by the police from entering Israel (which, as you know, makes it impossible for him to obtain a permit to work in Israel or in the settlements), they must obtain a “form” from the DCO policeman and a “good conduct” certificate (a euphemism for “criminal record”) from a police station.


In the previous report we detailed the difficulties involved in obtain a “form.”  This report will detail the difficulties involved in obtaining a “good conduct” certificate that can be a few pages long.


The good conduct (criminal record) certificate lists all the police files opened against the person over the years (a statute of limitations erases files dating back decades). 


Based on hundreds of criminal record certificates we’ve seen over the years, it appears that almost every adult male in the occupied territories has a criminal record.  Most of the complaints (about 95%) refer to entry to Israel without a permit or forging entry documents in order to get a job, and not actual criminal activity (theft, violence, etc.).


Most of the criminal records include files that have gone to court, along with a considerable number that were closed “for lack of evidence” or “lack of public interest.”  Court cases almost always end with incarcerations of various durations, usually a sentence of a few months suspended for one to five years, or longer.


There are only three police stations in the entire West Bank where Palestinians can obtain “good conduct” certificates, complain or obtain help of some kind:  Kiryat Arba, Etzion and Binyamin, near Ramallah.  Palestinians north of Ramallah have no access to a police station.


During the past year, “good conduct” certificates could be obtained on a regular basis at the Kiryat Arba police station, on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 in the afternoon.  The service is available and there are almost no problems.


The Etzion police station doesn’t have regular hours for this service, nor is a policeman always on site to issue a “good conduct” certificate.  “Captain Da’oud” is an additional problem at Etzion; he apparently tries to recruit people as informers; as a result, people who’ve heard about him are afraid to go there.


The Binyamin police station has no regular hours either.  Sometimes people are able to obtain a “good conduct” certificate there, and sometimes they leave empty-handed.


Palestinians in the rest of the West Bank have no way to obtain a “good conduct” certificate on their own.  Whoever isn’t able to do so must use an attorney.  In other words, pay hundreds of shekels.


07:30  Husan.  Nobody awaited us.


08:00  Nashash.  We met a man who’d come to consult with respect to the police.


08:15  Etzion DCO.  We met a man from Bethlehem who’s worked for years in Israel with a permanent permit.  He came to renew his magnetic cardinfo-icon before it expired.  That was two weeks ago.  They told him: come when it expires.  He came last week and was told:  magnetic cards aren’t being renewed until the beginning of the year (after the holidays, apparently).  He returned again today to beg them to renew the card.  Here’s the situation:  he has a valid work permit but he can’t go through the checkpoint without a valid magnetic card.  The procedure with respect to the magnetic card is as follows:  a new one is issued every four years.  Until the beginning of 2013 cards were issued which had to be renewed mid-way through the period.  As of the start of 2013 cards have been issued valid for four years which don’t have to be renewed after two.


08:45  Beit Umar.  Many people came to consult with respect the police and the Shabak.


09:30  Nabi Yunis.  Many people here also for the same reason.