Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Shuyukh, Susiya, Mon 12.3.12, Morning
A mitzvah mission, Susia
Observers: Hagit B., Michal Z. (reporting)
Translator: Charles K.
We had two tasks today, to provide a little bit of help to people whose rights and whose ability to run their own lives have been erased by the occupation. We first drove to Shuyukh to meet a man who was jailed for being in Israel illegally.
When he was released he was sent home without his belongings, his ID or his cellphone. He was without them for an entire year and couldn’t do anything because he’s been blacklisted for two years. He contacted Chaya and Sylvia, our colleagues, only recently. They asked us to help him because he’d been in the Oholei Keidar prison in Beersheva.
So we obtained a power of attorney from his lawyer in order to be able to ask at the prison whether they were holding his belongings, or had transferred them elsewhere. When they found out what we wanted they said, “It’s complicated; it will take a long time to find them…”, etc., etc. Another phone call, another discussion with prison staff and…the missing items were found: “Come get them.” We made an appointment and the parcel awaited us. Tomorrow we’ll finally give the man his ID card and his belongings.
The entire business occurs because the prison staff or those who escort prisoners to court don’t take the prisoners’ personal belongings with them; they’re left behind. If someone is released after the trial, he’s sent home without his belongings. People whose freedom of movement is limited and who are prohibited from entering Israel are sent away with no identification documents and without a valuable cellphone, and are left helpless before the terrifying apparatus of occupation.
Who would dare behave that way toward a Jew?
A naïve question for the Prison Service: how hard would it be for prison staff escorting prisoners to court to bring their few, but very valuable, belongings with them, and return them to someone who’s released? Would it be possible to treat people more humanely? “Even though they’re only Arabs.” [Although we did see what those who released the sick man from Gaza and abandoned him to die were capable of. But I won’t stop asking.]
We then continued to Susiya in order to give M. money he needs for his legal struggle. The funds collected from our colleagues might be of some help.
There’s so much evil in this story. The “chosen people” displays such great insensitivity; it crowns the hilltops with settlements and erases the lives of its neighbors without any pangs of conscience. No one feels even “a slight bump to the wing.”