Beit Ummar - a Palestinian saving an Israeli family

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Shlomit Steinitz, Natanya Ginsburg
Beit Ummar - Muhammad saving the couple from Karmei Tsur

Our first client was a man who was very discreet about telling his story. He is divorced. It is possible from a woman from an important family as he is both threatened by them and by the Palestinian Authority.  The case went to court and he has permission to live in Israel and to drive a car with an Israeli license. He was stopped at Beitar Illit and the car was confiscated even though he had the necessary papers and he was then sent from pillar to post to try to get it released. We gave him the number of Tamir Blanck.

A man told us that he had been a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad and sat in jail in 2006. One of the jailers shot him in the leg and he said he did not know is often hard to get to the bottom of the stories for obvious reasons. He is handicapped and now walks with a cane.  He was told by a human rights organization in Ramallah that there was nothing they could do for him.   He is a security refusal and has been called in. He says that they have probably done to get him to cooperate with them but he is done with the Jihad and also politics in general. He has no information to give them. But they will try to milk him.

All the stories we hear are, to put it mildly, unpleasant. But this one was very painful. Again, it is one of the cases where this man's livelihood consisted of collecting “alte sachen” such as fridges, air conditioners, etc. and in the last months they are not allowed to bring the goods into the occupied territories. He has been sitting at home for over a month now.

But his story is much more complicated. Never does a good deed go unpunished especially in the enlightened state of Israel. 

He lives in Beit Ummar and a few weeks ago in the night, he heard a noise outside and saw that a car had got stuck on a large stone, and had also collided with one of his trees and that people of the village   were attacking the car. Inside the car were a couple, the Baron family, of   Carmei Tzur. He quickly took his family up to the third floor as he was worried that the army would come and start throwing gas canisters. Notice that he still thought of the Israelis in spite of being worried about the safety of his own family. He ran down, shouting at the demonstrators to stop and calling the couple to get out of the car. In the beginning they were scared of him, but he convinced them to come with him. He managed to get them out of the car, which was afterwards burnt, and used his own body to shield the woman until he got her into the house. All this time, stones were hailing down on him and the couple. He brought them into his house until they could be rescued. 

Then his troubles doubled. No one in the village will have anything to do with him. He was sent to Coventry both socially and  financially. No one hires him to do any work in the village. He stays home. In the settlements they are happy that he should work for them but he needs to enter with a permit. Even the head of the council of and the settlement of Carmei Yosef have written strong recommendations to help him, saying that they have known him for  many years. Also, the head of Gush Etzion council, Shlomo Neeman has done so.  He has spoken to Josh Breiner of Haaretz who wrote an article about him ( Shai Glick and Ohad Ben Hamo have also tried to help him and said that they would speak to Ghasan Aliyan, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. He had to remove his children to his family in Hebron and, although he has brought them back home, they do not go to school. He has received a document from Shorashim (Roots) testifying to his bravery.  The Baron family has asked that his deed be taken into consideration. He has friends in the army and the border police who have all written to testify to his character. He was "police refused" because he bought a permit for 2500 shekel which he did not know was forged. He was caught and sat in jail for 21 days and came out to find that he has now been banned from entering Israel until 2026. 

Enclosed find the document of appreciation from Shorashim. This is a nonprofit organization which is trying to foster understanding between settlers and Palestinians.   Very praiseworthy if you ignore the fact that the settlements are illegal by international law and some of them are built on private Palestinian land.