Ofer - Release on Bail, Palestinians staying illegally in Israel

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Tamar Goldschmidt, Aya Kaniuk, Nitza Aminov (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.


Politeness is considered proper behavior - and civilized conduct, and curses and execrations are certainly not civilized conduct. In the Occupied Territories Palestinians have been staging protests for years. We all know how these protests are dispersed. I don’t understand why the soldiers expect politeness from those who protest against the occupation. This is a preamble to the bizarre hearing we attended today at Ofer Military Court.


Judge: Lieut.-Col. Shmuel Kedar

Prosecutor: Sargeant-Major Sami Mizrahi

Defense: Atty. Gaby Laski


Mahmoud Hassin Suliman – ID 987274958

The accused Mahmoud Suliman is suspected of hurling imprecations and insults at IDF soldiers at a rally in Um-Salmona on 31.5.14. He is alleged to have addressed the Bedouin and Druze soldiers telling them that in ten years they will be hanged for collaborating with Israel.

One soldier tried to arrest him but Mahmoud fled.


The prosecutor requests 3 days remand extension to obtain testimonies from the trackers who were at the site and who felt humiliated.


In the defense’ cross examination three issues became apparent: first, the accused was arrested only on 5.6.14 on a planned arrest; second, there was no attempt to summon him to interrogation, and third, hurling insults is not an actionable violation. Thus, the soldiers on the ground had no authority to arrest him, and consequently, he did not flee from legitimate detention.


The judge, too, was not sure that the soldier who tried to detain Mahmoud had authority to do so when he ordered him arrested for insults, however offensive. The judge ordered Mahmoud released against personal guarantee and 500-shekel third party guarantee. Shai Carmeli, an Israeli citizen, vouched for him and signed the guarantee.


Until noon only one courtroom was operational and it was hard to follow the trials that took place there in quick succession. The small hall was filled with attorneys examining the files, family members who used the opportunity to talk to the detaineesinfo-icon; there were prison guards and of course detainees who went in and out.

Most hearings were about Palestinians staying illegally in Israel, such as Omar from Qalandiya refugee camp. He is the son of Abu-Omar, a close friend of Tami Goldschmidt and Aya Kaniuk. He owns a cookie cart and works very hard to support his family. With extreme difficulty he managed to send his son and daughter to school. Omar studied engineering in Egypt, but the degree did not help him find work. In his distress, he tried to work – without a permit – at the nearby settlement of Modi’in.

Decision: alternative to detention consisting of 3000 shekel bail plus third person guarantee of 1500 shekel, signed by Aya. Aya got the court’s permission to tell the story of Omar and the family.

[See details about Abu-Omar’s story in Machsanmilim and additional report].

There is something symbolic in the fact that Omar, scion of a refugee family, worked in a settlement built on the village from which his family had been evicted. This is Bir-Ma’in,

a tiny village conquered on 16.7.48. The towns of Makabim, Re’ut and part of Modi’in were built on the land of that village.

[See Bir-Ma’in in “Zochrot” website]