Ofer - Incitement, Knives
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Major Haim Balilti
Incitement – the Military Court’s darling
Upon arrival we were greeted with sewer stench. It is always there, all year round, alerting the comers to the atmosphere in the courts.
We made our way to Courtroom 2, where the judge explained pleasantly that hearings of minors were taking place, hence we could stay only if the minor and his attorney agreed. Atty. Ahmad Safiya told the judge that the minor had no objection, but when we sat down the judge reminded us that we were not to publish the minor’s name, ID number or anything that takes place in the court. We are familiar with this ruling, meant no doubt to protect the minor’s rights, and yet we were moved by this attempt to guard human rights. What a display of humanity and the rule of law! Fifty years of occupation have not eroded the state’s commitment to human rights. But then again, what about the right to privacy when the army raids a Palestinian home in the middle of the night and drags away families, including the minor, in pajamas, and five BP officers interrogate, threaten and beat him? And why is there a gag order on reporting it? Does this serve the minor or the court, which would rather not have its hearings and sentences published? And why does this apply only to minors? Because this ‘right to privacy” of the minor, as well as the other procedures of the court are “the emperor’s new clothes”- covering up the crimes of the occupation, which are in fact quite transparent.
Ayoub Ahmad Laesi Damra – ID 8527633333
A 24-year old from Akabat-Jaber Refugee Camp (near Jerico).
Defense: Iliya Teodory
Ayoub Damara was arrested on 1.8.16.
The hearing pitted the vaunted right to privacy, that the court is so concerned about, with the new hero of the indictment: Facebook. Between October 2012 and 2016 Ayoub published a facebook page which had 4000 followers. The IDF kept an eye on him, ignoring his right to privacy. According to the indictment, he posted photos of masked people holding knives and calling for a show of force, perhaps also pictures of IDF and BP soldiers in action. The page was apparently popular, so Ayoub was charged with incitement.
In other words: had Ayoub and others like him not posted these pictures on Facebook, the Palestinians would think that they were living in Heaven. According to the court, those pictures show the Palestinians something they don’t know, incite them and make them think that there is something wrong. Thus, the judge found Ayoub guilty of deliberately calling for violence and terror on his Facebook page and sentenced him to 10 months in prison plus 10-month probation and a 3000-shekel fine.
Lara Nasser Mahmoud Teraira – ID 401588934
A 20-year old woman from the village of Bani Naim.
Lara is released on bail.
Defense: Ilya Teodory standing in for Akram Samara.
Lara is the sister of the man who murdered Hillel Ariel on June 1 this year.
Lara was interviewed on Al-Quds television channel, cursing the Jews and wishing her brother happiness in Heaven. She said she put her trust in Allah. For this she was arrested on 3.7.16, charged with incitement.
Since we did not hear the interview, we can’t comment, but we are familiar with interviews with bereaved Jewish families on Israeli TV. The sorrow is the same, as are the fury and the resentment, but what is considered good rating for Israeli TV, is considered incitement on Palestinian TV.
Outside the court, we spoke to the father who told us that another son of his is detained at Ofer, awaiting trial.
Lara is due to be released today after the family posts a 6000-shekel bail.
With sadness and distress, the father and his son told us that in three days the army is scheduled to demolish their home. They appealed to the Center for Human Rights, but are not sure it will help.
Lara’s next hearing is set for 8.9.16. Until then she is forbidden to talk to the media.
Eid Talat Abd Alhamid Dar Yassin – ID 854709524
A 23-year old from Beit Rima.
Defense: Atty. Tariq Bargouth
Today Incitement is the name of the game. We have not read the Facebook post of Eid Dar Yassin, who was arrested two months ago, but he must have recorded there his experiences, opinions and memories. Perhaps he added pictures of masked men, soldiers, house demolitions, burnt orchards, things that reveal to Palestinians that there is a brutal immoral occupation.
Eid was arrested at the checkpoint on his way home from Ramallah, where he works in a restaurant. He is accused of incitement.
The defense requests and receives a postponement for a month.
Jihad Jaber Hassan Alharush – ID 958296238
Jihad is released on bail. He is 43 years old and lives in Rishon LeZion.
Charge: Criminal – meaning using false papers.
Defense: Issam Merar
Jihad’s story, like the man himself, is caught between the state of Israel with its laws and rules and reality and its constraints. He is a resident of the Occupied Territories, lives in Rishon Lezion with his three sons and works in Israel.
His work permit was revoked in May 2015. He kept the form with the cancellation stamp with his ID. At Shuafat Checkpoint a soldier discovered the revoked permit and arrested Jihad for entering Israel illegally.
But the man lives in Rishon!
Amina Odeh Hussein Mahmoud – ID 911732584
A 35 year old woman from Jabel Mukaber, released o bail.
Charge: Possession of a knife.
Defense: Omar Al-Araj
Amina has a green ID card. She is divorced and has one son. She lives in the OccupiedTerritories, taking care of her demented mother, which is why she was allowed to stay in Jabel Mukaber.
At a certain date (we were unable to hear) she showed up at the Checkpoint with a 12 mm long knife and was arrested. The court did not explore why she did that. Today she was sentenced to jail time coinciding with her detention, 1500-shekel fine (deducted from the 2000-shekel bail) and suspended sentence.
We witnessed that all these: the judge, the indictments, the postponement, the protocol, the politeness and the patience, the right to privacy, the separation of minors from adult detainees, the defense and the prosecution, the public hearing – are merely “the emperor’s new clothes” that try, and sometimes succeed in covering the emperor’s (i.e., the state’s) nakedness, while with one hand it stifles the freedom of expression, travel and right to property, erecting checkpoints and doling out permits, as the other hand conducts trials that observe all rules and regulations.