Ofer - Holding and trading of combat materiel, Knives
Translation: Marganit W.
For openers: here’s an example of how well the soldier serving at the military courts are familiar with the lives of their subjects. I called to find out if hearings were taking place despite the fact that there is general closure in the Territories.
HH: Are hearings taking place as usual today?
Soldier (f.) at the other end: yes, as usual.
HH: Despite the closure?
HH: There is a general closure in the Territories today.
Soldier: I really don’t know. Call back in 20 minutes. Everybody will be here and someone will have an answer.
I called 20 minutes later with the same question.
Soldier: Yes, as usual.
HH: In spite of the closure?
Soldier: What closure?
Eventually, there were hearings as usual.
Courtroom 1 – Justice Lieut. Col. Menahem Lieberman
Justice Lieberman delivered his legal decisions, like mantras, in muffled speech, apparently intended only for the ears of the typist and interpreter. The defendants and their families do not understand Hebrew anyway and they listen to the interpreter.
There were no heartbreaking cases today, just routine, exasperating horror.
Amal Jehad Ali Ahmad - ID 584053840
Charge: attempted homicide
Defense: Haled Al-araj
Defense hearing was supposed to take place with a panel of judges, but this did not happen.
Amal is 21, a resident of Beit Fajar. She got betrothed shortly before her arrest.
On 1.12.14, i.e., more than a year ago, she was arrested at Etzion Checkpoint, accused of carrying a knife.
She sat in court, without handcuffs, exchanging a few sentences with her parents (mostly instructing them how to transfer money so she could use the canteen) and smiles.
The attorney exchanged a few phrases with the judge and with the parents and that was it. The handcuffed were slapped back and she was taken out.
What has happened since her arrest? Why has the trial dragged so long? There was no defense today and only one judge. The prosecution officers treat these considerations with the same attitude they have toward the questions about closures. What does it matter? These are not Israelis after all.
Majdi Ahmad Mussa Aggaia – ID 921559449
Charge: Attempted homicide.
Defense: Ilya Theodory
Memorandum hearing in front of a panel.
Majdi, a 23-year old truck driver from Bani-Naim, married and father of three, is charged with membership in a military unit from Feb. 2013 until April 2013 (i.e., about three months). Together with others he threw a firebomb at an Israeli vehicle (If we heard correctly) that hit a security rail, and also laid a bomb on the road with the intention of hitting military and civilian targets.
Here we wondered, what are “civilian targets”? Obviously this means settlers. Using ‘civilian’ obliterates the political context of the event. We are dealing with the occupied territories. Are the settlers ‘civilians’? Recently Minister Bennett delivered a speech in which he said, “We need to create new, innovative security perceptions; to introduce changes in legal and conceptual thinking about warfare.” Well, the military court is ahead of Bennett and his party when it comes to legal and conceptual thinking. The court not only creates a new perception of what being civilian means, but it uses judgment and penalty to entrench it.
And what about Majdi? He admitted the charges, accepted a plea bargain and was convicted of two incidents of throwing firebombs, participation in laying bombs and endangering civilians.
Tamer Jehad Abed Al-Gaffar Khmour – 850846056
Charge: Attempted homicide.
Defense: Ilya Theodory
Tamer is married and has two daughters. His wife and his mother told us that he has been in custody for a year and a half.
We saw and heard no evidence. Tamer is accused that he kept IDF uniform in his possession, and that with a friend he shot at a watchtower. On another occasion he threw rocks at security forces. He admitted to all the charges as part of a plea bargain.
Sentence: three and half years prison-time from the day of arrest, plus a 2000-shekel fine.
Amran Aeid Amran Sleiman – ID 852274539
Amran is mentioned in our report from 15.7.15. The charge is possession and treading in combat materiel.
Amran is a 25-year old married man from Ramallah. He is a certified sheik, studying Islam at Al-Quds University.
His attorney says that the trial today is not connected to a case we reported last summer. He was arrested about two months ago on charges of arms possession. As usual, there is no specification of what kind of weapon. Is it a pipe that can be used in bomb making, a bottle that can be made into a Molotov cocktail, stolen IDF weapon or any other dangerous material?
The hearing was postponed but we could not hear the date.
Said Muhammad Said Mansoor – ID 851577999
Defense: Anwar Abu Ahmad
Charge: leaving the area without a permit – this definition designates the area as a ghetto or a prison to which Israel holds the key.
Mansoor’s case is not unusual but it is depressing. He is from the village of Bidu, 28 years old, father to a 4-year old son and his wife is expecting.
He was in prison for 3 years, released in September and unemployed ever since.
On 7.3.16 he left home and entered in Israel, seeking work. Naturally, he does not have the requisite permit, so he was caught.
Sentence: 2 months in prison from the day of arrest, 3 months suspended sentence and 2000-shekel fine.