Ofer - Remand Extension, Women

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Norah Orlow, Nitza Aminov (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.


“We decry the disdain for the security fence: we cannot tolerate disrespect for the fence and will enforce its observance.”


A “regular” day at the remand extension court:

Palestinians staying illegally inside Israel, members in Kutla Islamiya” (when the detainee was a student, in 2013 and has since graduated, but how is this relevant to charges pressed in Dec. 2015? – N.A.), and a judge who automatically approves all remand requests by the prosecution.


Then I suddenly heard the prosecutor and the judge say: the detainee is a student who during the break wanted to earn a little money. He crossed the fence (a rather sanitized term: I call it a wall – N.A.) went to East Jerusalem and tried to work at a stall near Damascus Gate.


The prosecutor explained that work in Israel and a wish to support oneself are not grounds for leniency (i.e., alternative to detention). The judge uttered the above quote, adding that there is high risk that the man may repeat the offence. It turns out that the student was arrested a few years ago for the same violation, but did not go to prison. Still, there is risk of recidivism. So let him wait in jail until the end of the investigation.


Family members of detaineesinfo-icon come to attend the hearings, but the court allows only two per family to attend the hearing, as if the number really makes a difference. Coming to court is often an alternative to jail visit, especially in view of the fact that many are barred from visiting their loved ones. Often, the hearing is very short or the hearing is postponed and the family members leave the court crestfallen.

This is what happened in the hearing of Hiffa Abu Sabih (37 year old high school principal, with 6 children, the youngest 2 years old). Her husband and sister came to court, waited until late afternoon only to hear that the hearing was postponed until next week. Hiffa and the family were escorted out. They will come again next week.


In the courtyard we heard the usual stories: how the army raided at night, broke down the front door and made a mess. They frightened the young children and kidnapped whoever they were looking for. They all talk to each other (and to me): people from Hebron, Qalandyia, Ramallah, different villages: sharing stories of life under the occupation.