You stole/confiscated a Palestinian’s bulldozer and forced the owner to pay for it!

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Rachel Afek

I send their words on, hoping someone will hear them…

For half a year I have been following the harassment of a Palestinian Jordan Valley farmer whose bulldozer was confiscated for alleged presence inside a firing zone on October 8, 2019. This is a legal explanation that apparently needs no clarification inquiries on the part of the court.

The confiscated vehicle stands to this day at the car-park where other confiscated vehicles in the West Bank await the coming of the Messiah…

I bothered the Israeli army with questions, tried to find a lawyer who would help. I spoke with a functionary of the local council of Toubas, no one helped. After half a year in that car-park of confiscated vehicles, the bulldozer owner was notified that he should come to get his fine payment form, pay it, and then have his bulldozer back. As we know, the longer a vehicle stands there, the higher the fine. For it is a car-park demanding payment for time spent. Let’s say we park our car in the Tel Aviv Ichilov Hospital car-park, how much would we pay?

So guess what was written on the form as the sum to be paid.

I asked lawyer Eitay Mack (who had already been familiar with this affair and could not help) what we should do. He said we should approach an attorney handling criminal cases.

He gave me a name. I passed it on. Clearly this was good for nothing. After all, no judge would consider a military firing zone a pretext for extorting money. Clearly sober decision makers had defined as firing zone the ground on which Palestinians live surrounded by their fields. Such officials know that certainly many reams of paper specify the meaning of ‘firing zone’. So should the Palestinians in question pay for both lawyer and the army fine machine?

So what was there left to do? Has anyone an idea? How does one pay a fine of 12,450 NIS for a tractor confiscated by the Israeli army for half a year because of its presence inside a firing zone.

This tractor is their source of livelihood. For half a year the army has held it and thus denied the family sustenance for that duration!

Half a year has passed, and now the army is read to return the tractor to its owners. “If you do not pay, I shall sell it to someone else”, the form says.

Through a wonderful woman lawyer who worked the case pro-bono, the fine was reduced to 8, 300 Nis, notwithstanding the magnitude of this sum as well.

The owner is helpless, and had to pay the ruling power a sum he cannot afford in order to get his property back. Yesterday, the vehicle was returned to its owner. “I am very happy today”, Ahmad wrote.