Ofer - Interrogation of Witness, Assault of soldier/policeman
Translation: Marganit W.
Continuation of the evidentiary hearing in the case of
Sajed Yusuf Muhammad Da’dua,ID 854142213-Case 4621/12
[See earlier report of this case]
Sajed Dadu’a, 23 years old, a resident of Al-Hader, is accused of attacking a policeman and resisting arrest while planting olive trees on his family’s land.
Judge: Major Samzar Shagug
Prosecutor: Lieutenant Dvir Weisel
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Arye Shaya of the Civil Administration was summoned to testify for the prosecution. He testified that during the incident in question he served as infrastructure coordinating officer at Bethlehem DCO (District Coordination Offices), a position that included arbitrating land disputes.
In a previous interrogation the witness testified that he had been called to Al Hader’s “Patriarch’s Road” where he encountered Yasin Da’dua (the defendant’s uncle), many activists who were planting olive trees, Nadja Matar (resident of nearby Ephrat settlement) and Dov, land inspector for Gush Etzion Bloc.
In response to why he was called in the first place, he replied that there was a dispute between residents (in his parlance) and Palestinians. In this case, the “residents” were Nadja Matar and another woman, whereas the Palestinians were Yasin Da’dua, who claims ownership of the land and had the documents to prove it, and other Palestinians and activists who brought the olive seedlings.
The DCO witness further testified: “We came to hear their claims while they were already establishing facts on the ground by planting olive saplings without permits or preliminary investigation by the Civil Administration… Upon quick observation, the land inspector pronounced that those were “Survey Lands.” The witness explained that “Survey Lands” are tracts under review towards declaring them State Lands. By law, no change in infrastructure can be made on such lands (including planting seeds), as long as their final status has not been established. Thus, he explained, he and the inspector asked the planters to vacate the area and asked Yasin Dadu’a to report to the DCO so that his claims of ownership could be examined.
It transpired later that Yasin Da’dua had already reported to DCO with his ownership papers, so this time he refrained from reporting there (Shaya confirmed that Da’dua is indeed the rightful owner). He claimed that since the land was his, he required no permit [to plant trees there].
Still, during the incident, he asked all present to heed the police orders and leave the area peacefully.
“We are an objective agents and we are colleagues,” said the witness in cross-examination when asked if Dov, his buddy from the settlement, claimed ownership of the land. Yes! Dov maintained that those were State Lands.
The witness, Arye Shaya, further testified that he was not surprised when the defendant was interrogated by the policeman: he considered him an instigator. He repeated this statement in cross-examination when asked how he viewed Naja Matar, whom he described as a “woman who likes to create provocations… and known to me to have an agenda she believes in, which is her right.”
He admitted that he had not seen the defendant push the policeman who was trying to arrest him, but as for the detention he repeated what he told the police about the prominence of the defendant during the incident, “He stood out in my consciousness. I don’t know this man. I have nothing against Palestinians.”
The defendant, Sajed Dadu’a testified for the defense.
His testimony was translated by Justice Shagug.
The witness said that he was a student of literature and worked in a restaurant. On Fridays he tills the family’s lands, and on this particular day, he helped his uncle to plant olive trees. Together with foreign activists, they worked peacefully for an hour, until Nadja Matar showed up and began cursing the Arabs. Ten minutes later, the police and the army arrived and tried, unsuccessfully, to lead Matar away. Later, two Hebrew speaking policemen ordered the planters to vacate the area, ignoring Uncle Yasin’s protestations (he speaks Hebrew) that the land is legally his and that he had presented the necessary documents to the Civil Administration.
The defense showed a film taken during the incident and asked the witness to identify himself.
When the uncle asked everyone to stop working, they obeyed.
The prosecutor asked why, in his police statement, he said he refused to stop working when told by the DCO rep. to do so. The defense objected to the question, “I know exactly what the policeman said and what the defendant said. I would like to play that disc (recording) to the court.”
In view of the defense’s objection, the prosecutor moved for a postponement of the defense arguments to a later date, so the prosecution could examine the recording and prepare questions for the defendant.
Thus, the next hearing was set for 4.3.14 at 13:30.
We recommend reading the attached protocol (Hebrew)!