Ofer - Sentence, Blacklisted
Translation: Marganit W.
In Justice Sharon Rivlin-Ahai’s court we attend a hearing concerning a plea bargain in the case of a Palestinian caught for the second time staying illegally inside Israel. The accused explains that he is the sole provider of a large family and that his mother and brother are sick. It is heartbreaking to see in court his aged father trying again and again to address the judge and explain the situation, but to no avail.
The judge chides the defendant: “Why can’t you find a decent work?” Needless to say, this is an absurd and hurtful comment.
The punishment is 35 days in jail, suspended sentence for a year and a 1500 shekel fine.
When the father tries again to plead with the judge to lighten the sentence because so many people depend on the son’s work, the judge responds that this is all known to her and that’s why the punishment is so light and the suspension so short.
Well, everything is relative.
In Justice Shamzar Shagoug’s court we learn how the Occupation protects nature; there is even a law bearing the same name.
On 6.12.13, the defendant and some friends were detained by the army. In their possession were a net and 7 bird-cages with 13 protected birds.
The man is released on bail and there is a plea bargain. As per protocol, the judge asks if he admits his guilt. The man insists that none of the objects belong to him. A discussion ensues regarding his participation. The judge explains that his presence on the scene constitutes collaboration.
According to the agreement the penalty is 7 days in prison, 3 month suspended sentence for a year and 500-shekel fine.
The judge asks the man what he does for a living. He works at Etzyon. The judge seems alarmed: this is the first time he hears this. He asks the prosecutor to see to it that the penalty won’t prevent him from getting work permits. The prosecutor sees no objection to obtaining work permit from the Civil Administration. He adds that this is not a serious criminal or security violation.
We won’t go into the details of the travails facing a Palestinian trying to obtain a work permit in Israel. First, he can’t be too young. He needs to have an Israeli employer. He needs a magnetic card and must fill out numerous forms. He better not have a relative killed by the IDF or sitting in jail. If by miracle he is able to obtain a permit and he works in Israel or in a settlement, he can always expect to have his permit revoked at the checkpoint by the police or the Shabak [GSS].
The defense points out the irrelevancy of the judge and the prosecutor’s comments: even a traffic ticket issued by the Israeli police can revoke a work permit. The judge and the prosecutor are astonished to hear the defense tell of many clients who tried to restore work permits that the police revoked because of a traffic violation. The prosecutor asks: There is an appeals committee in Beit-El. Why don’t you use them?
As it is said, “Sancta Simplicitas”.