Ofer - Plea Bargain, Release on Bail

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Mili Mass, Hava Halevi (reporting)


Translation: Marganit W.


Courtroom 7

Judge: Lieut.-Col. (Res.) Eran Laufman

Prosecutor: Captain (Res.) David Golan

Defense: Anwar Abu Ahmad


There must be some explanation, having to do with military judges’ vacation, or with the “bridge” between Shavuot and the weekend, that accounts for the fact that despite the numerous people waiting for trials, only two courtrooms were operative, and the judges and prosecutors were on reserve duty.


Plea bargain in the case of Abdullah Radayda – ID 851815399 – caught staying illegally inside Israel. Mr. Radayda was caught in A-Zaim region, declared by the military commander as closed military zone.

The prosecutor presented the judge with an agreement between the prosecution and the defense: 31 days in prison plus probation to be decided by the court. The defense agreed pointing out the clean record of the defendant and the time that will be spared by the court.

There is an atmosphere of boredom and very familiar routine, since the court is not the place to question the legality and morality of declaring A-Zaim a closed military zone, or to question the authority of the “military commander” to decide the fate of thousands of families. Yes, a boring routine.

Justice Laufman asks: What does the defendant do for a living?

He is a bachelor, studying business administration at the Jerusalem Open University. He tried to enter Israel looking for work.

Sentence: 31 days in prison starting with the day of arrest, 2 month suspended sentence and a 1500 shekel fine.


Samer Issa Mahmoud Al Barbari – ID 920275799 – Stayed illegally in Israel.

Al Barbari resides in Bethlehem (or environs), married for 6 years and father of two. He admits to the charges. What is there to deny? He was caught red handed.

Atty. Abu Ahmad did his best. He explained that the economic situation in the Occupied Territories affects the people. (“Affects” is apt: he could have said, depresses, humiliates, infuriates, starves, terrifies, threatens, but he said only “affects”).

The defendant has no prior record and he aspires for a better future and and a brighter horizon. The judge replies that “better future and brighter horizon do not lead to violations.” Great, isn’t it?

The defendant took the floor and explained that he had entered Israel in search of work. He has 2 children, one of them, 4 years old, suffers from a skin disease and the medication…

But the judge sticks to the letter of the law and to evidence. He asks if there is medical proof of the child’s disease. Well, no. When he tried to enter Israel without a permit, he did not take with him the child’s medical record.

Sentence: 31 days in prison, 2 months suspended sentence and 1000 shekels fine.


Courtroom 5

Judge: Lietu.-Col. (Ret.) Ami Navon

Prosecutor: We were unable to obtain his name

Defense: Abdullah Wassrm Mrar


Hamza Salame Al Rashaida  - ID 402735534, 17 years old

The prosecution requests detention until the end of proceedings.

Al Rashaida is suspected that on two occasions, April 19 and May 2, 2014, he broke into a visitor’s car in a parking lot, stealing parts.

The charges are: violence, damage to property and to personal security and trading in stolen goods.

He denies the allegations. 

The proof – and this demonstrates how deeply the Israeli Intelligence has penetrated the lives of Palestinians – is that the defendant’s blood has been found in the burglarized vehicle. The prosecution requests detention until the conclusion of the investigation; the defense asks for an alternative to detention (aka ‘released under certain conditions’). He cites precedents.

Decision: The boy is accused of two break-ins, theft and possession of stolen goods. Alternative to detention can be accepted for the following reasons:

He is a minor suspected of property violation, which he denies.

The purpose of remand is to ensure that he reports to trial. Up to now he has shown up in court even when he was released.

Condition: 5000-shekel deposit.

He has to report to Bethlehem Police once a week until 12:00 until the end of the legal proceeding.

A third party guarantor has to deposit 10,000 shekels.

The defendant himself has to provide personal guarantee to the tune of 15.000 shekels.

Both sides objected to the decision. The prosecutor requested a 72-hour postponement and the defense requested to check if the family can pay such sums, with a view to reducing the deposit.