Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing

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Ivonne Mansbach, Hava Halevi (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.


Courtroom 4

There are 24 cases before Justice Etty Adar.

We attended 10 hearings and will report on four.


Jum’a Hassan Jum’a Hawaja - ID 910911619

Jum’a is from the village of Ni’alin and was arrested on 4.11.14. He is accused of manufacturing and throwing a fire bomb.

He is defended by Atty. Haled Al-Araj and there is a plea bargain.

He is charged that in May and July 2013, together with others, he threw a firebomb at Israeli vehicles on Rt. 446. A year later he threw rocks at IDF forces. In 2014 he drove to the security fence and laid incendiary objects there. When they blew up, he fled the scene. This last charge is described as “violation against public order".

There is no precise date or any other detail, except the year of the violation. This description shows what the army thinks about the residents of the occupied territories. The army shows up with their helmets and weapons, blocks the roads, puts up checkpoints, builds fences and roadblocks and completely disrupts the residents’ lives. The army’s “public order” is carried out with armored vehicles, nightly raids and roadblocks. Soldiers, jeeps, checkpoints, civil administration and settlements built on Palestinian stolen land, this is “public order” and those who object to this abomination must agree to “plea bargains” retract their denials of guilt and be condemned in the military court for "disturbing the public order".

The phrasing of the indictment defines order as the order imposed by the army, thus creating a reality that denies the humanity, culture and customs of those who have no weapons.

Jum’a Hawaja uses crutches, which he used sitting in court too. He has back issues. One wonders how he was able to carry out all the violations he is charged with: throw objects, run away etc. on crutches. The judge mentions this question in her decision, and there are medical records confirming it, but the question was not raised during the hearing.

Sentence: 22 month since the day of arrest (i.e., 10 months left), 16 months suspended sentence and 2000-shekel fine, or 2 months in jail.


Adnan Muhammad Eid Azat Zaro - ID 911709236

Accused of possessing and trading in combat materiel.

The defense requests one month postponement to reach an agreement with the prosecution.


Abed Alhalim Ruhi Abed AlhalimHamad - ID 937433746

Abed Alhalim is 24 years old and is a resident of Silwad.

Charge: On 4.9.15 he left the area without a permit and prevented a soldier from carrying out his duty.

Defense: Akram Samara.

The violent scene that brought Hamad Alhalim to the military court, and its description in the indictment, are familiar to thousands of Palestinians and to our colleagues in Machsomwatch.

He was caught at A-Za’im Checkpoint, trying to cross without a permit. This fact is true; from now on, it is the Theater of the Absurd.

Hamad and two friends came to the checkpoint and tried to cross. A soldier searched their bags, perhaps checked their IDs. A brawl ensued with shouting and violence on both sides, and the defendant hit a policeman. There was an attempt by one of the friends to grab the policeman’s weapon. 

We were not present at the incident, but the idea that a Palestinian would try to hit an armed policeman at a checkpoint, filled with soldiers and fences… is frankly inconceivable. Moreover there are cameras at all checkpoints. There is no mention of testimony or a film that support the allegation.

Note also the charge: disturbing a soldier and preventing him from carrying out his duty. What is the soldier’s duty? Imposing a system of rules that serve the occupation. This is inexcusable, so the judge sentenced the defendant to 15 months in prison plus 10 months suspended sentence and a 2500-shekel fine.


Rafat Shehada Ibrahim Abu Shakra - ID 401880307

Rafat is 19 years old, an electrician from Kadura.

He is accused of throwing objects.

Defense: Akram Samara.

Rafat was arrested in July, probably as a result of incrimination, like most defendants we saw today. He was a minor at the time.

In 2014 (no precise date, place or time) he twice threw rocks, once in the Ramallah area, and a month or two later at Ofer Checkpoint, where the target was an army jeep.

The plea bargain mentions his clean record and the insufficient evidence. The judge accepted the agreement.

Sentence: 8 months in jail from day of arrest + 10 months suspended sentence for 4 years and a 3000-shekel fine.