Ofer - Maltreatment, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
The Harassment of the Residents of Beit Iksa
In the yard we spoke with two brothers of a detainee from Beit Iksa, then we went into the court to attend the remand extension hearing.
Judge: Major Sharon Keynan
Prosecutor: Lieutenant Anan Sarkhan
Defense: Atty. Abdullah Hamdan
Detainee: Ziad Ahmad Husni Ziad - ID 904003001
Ziad, 37, is a bus driver and coordinator of the village transportation. He has been in detention for 7 days for disrupting and threatening a policeman.
Beit Iksa is located northwest of Jerusalem, inside the West Bank. About 2000 people live there, 20% of them have blue IDs of Jerusalem residents.
The village is separated from nearby villages by an electronic fence that surrounds it from northwest and connects to the Separation Fence. In 2010 a checkpoint was erected there, controlling the only entrance to the Beit Iksa. At the same time, Israel permanently closed the gate leading to Jerusalem through Ramot. Entry into the village is permitted only to people registered as residents. West Bank residents can enter only by obtaining special permits, which are doled out very sparingly. Thus, family members, merchandise, utility workers, medical and educational personnel are all prohibited from entering.
The two brothers told heartbreaking stories about the checkpoint and implored us to visit, especially between 12:30 and 16:00, when the inhabitants return to the village.
Lately, the situation has worsened considerably: for several months now a unit of security forces stationed at the checkpoint has made the residents’ lives extremely hard. At the entrance to the village all the residents have to get off the bus and have their papers and belongings checked. This includes old people, babies and the disabled. The frisking is done tendentiously, slowly and cruelly. The brothers surmise that the purpose of this harassment is to provoke the residents to react, whereupon the army would claim that there are riots and use gas and stun grenades and carry out arrests. This will embitter the lives of the villagers and prod some of them to leave.
At some point the driver Ziad had enough: he could no longer tolerate the continuous harassment and attempted to protect his passengers’ respect and welfare. He was arrested by one of the soldiers in the unit, who called for police reinforcement, and Ziad was accused of disturbing and threatening the police.
During the hearing, the defense moved to release Ziad to house arrest under the supervision of his brothers, who were present and also testified. Their mother is hospitalized in Ramallah and the brothers visit her every day.
The judge agreed to the house arrest and allowed the detainee to leave the house every day between 10:00-14:00 to visit the mother in hospital. The judge said the family seems to be a respectable one.
Still, the prosecution objected to guarantors that are close relatives of the detainee.
As usual, the prosecution requested a 72-hour delay and the judge allowed it.
As soon as the hearing was over, the attorney hurried to the office of the prosecution to try and rescind the delay and the appeal.
We attach an excellent report by B’tselem on Beit Iksa. Please read it.