Increase in Harassment of Yesha Residents

( Aug. 18, 2011) During the past few weeks Honenu has noted a sharp increase in the harassment by the police and the GSS of Yehuda and Shomron residents. The following cases are the most notable instances of harassment; many other cases are not able to be publicized, for understandable reasons. Some of the cases show repeated harassment of innocent individuals whose only “crime” is living in Yehuda and Shomron.

Case #1 – Yitzhar residents under administrative restraining orders:
Tuesday, August 2 Hundreds of policemen and GSS agents raided Yitzhar and other locations in Yehuda and Shomron during the early morning hours and distributed 12 administrative restraining orders to residents, barring them from entering or staying in Yehuda and Shomron.
Sunday, August 7 Calev Blanc, one of the administrative exiles was arrested while traveling on Highway 4. The detectives took Blanc without detailing to where he was being taken and without showing the arrest warrant they claimed was issued against him.
Sunday, August 7 A yeshiva student in Yitzhar was abruptly arrested at the gate of the yeshiva by Yassam police, after they had patrolled the community for several hours. No reason was given.
Sunday, August 7 Honenu attorney Adi Kedar reported that the two detainees are being held at the GSS facilities in Petah Tikva in humiliating conditions as if they were the worst of terrorists. Their clothes have been taken away, they are wearing prison uniforms, they have been separated from each other and are being held in small cells with no bed or toilet.
Monday, August 8 Judge Dana Mershek-Marom extends their remand until Friday. The two are suspected of setting on fire Arab vehicles after the horrifying murder of five members of the Fogel family, hy”d, in Itamar. Needless to say, all of the investigative material is classified and has not been presented to Honenu attorney Adi Kedar. Until now no evidence connecting them to the act has been presented to them. Kedar filed an appeal.
Tuesday, August 9 The Petah Tikva District Court rejected the appeal filed by Honenu attorney Adi Kedar on the remand of the two youths from Yitzhar. Honenu filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on the decision of the district court.
Wednesday, August 10 Police detectives arrived in the morning at the apartment in which one of the administrative exiles from Yitzhar is temporarily living and arrested him for interrogation. The location to which he was taken was originally unknown. Later it became known that he was taken to the GSS facilities in Petah Tikva, but his status and the reason for the arrest was not immediately known.
Wednesday, August 10 Uriya Cohen, the administrative exile arrested in the morning for interrogation at the GSS facilities in Petah Tikva, was released after interrogation. During interrogation Calev Blanc, also a Yitzhar detainee held by the GSS, was brought into the room, but remained silent and did not cooperate with the interrogator. Cohen also did not cooperate and after several attempts of persuasion and threats by the interrogators, he was unconditionally released.
Wednesday, August 10 The GSS reached an unprecedented low in Yitzhar residents interrogation. At 6:30 A.M. policemen from the Ariel police arrived at the home of Itamar resident Daniel Ben-Avraham and delivered him a summons “for a discussion at the GSS facility in Petah Tikva”, in the morning. Ben-Avraham then turned to, and received a legal briefing from, the Honenu legal headquarters. Ben-Avraham arrived at the GSS facility where an interrogator known as “Ayal” reminded him of an incident that occurred several months ago in the community of Yitzhar: Ben-Avraham discovered one evening that one of his tires was punctured for an unclear reason. The GSS interrogators hinted in a particularly blunt manner that if Ben-Avraham incriminated Calev Blanc, a Yitzhar detainee, then the interrogators would help him enlist in IDF, and with other matters.
Sources close to the detainees responded to the incident and said that, “The GSS again and again reaches a new unprecedented low. They are trying to incriminate an innocent man through inappropriate pressure on another man and by promising to help him enlist in the IDF. This is an unequaled scandal. The conduct of the GSS in this case only proves that there is no evidence linking the detainees to the incident. This is a case of an attempt to frame innocent people.”
Thursday, August 11 Honenu attorney Yossi Lin, who is representing the two detainees, visited them. Lin reported that the two are being held in harsh conditions but are continuing to maintain their silence during GSS interrogations. The minor in remand told Lin that a GSS interrogator grabbed his hand forcibly during one of the interrogations and shook it in a manner that seemed as if they had closed a deal, apparently in order to break the resolve of the other detainee.
Thursday, August 11 In the morning police detectives arrived at the community of Elon Moreh and summoned the brother of the remanded minor for interrogation. The brother arrived at the GSS facilities, where the interrogators pressured him to persuade his brother to cooperate with the interrogation and to admit to the suspicions. The brother was released from the GSS facilities after refusing to cooperate with the GSS interrogators.
Friday, August 12 At the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court the remand of the two youths from Yitzhar held by the GSS was extended until Monday. During the deliberation Honenu attorney Yossi Lin, who is representing the two detainees, said that the minor in remand was interrogated until 23:00 at night, despite the fact that interrogating a minor is allowed only until 22:00. Additionally the GSS interrogators refused to allow his parents to be present during the interrogation, which has not been refused to minors accused of murder. “If there was evidence in the case, then there would be no need to interrogate so intensively and to attempt to break the legitimate right of the detainees to remain silent,” said Lin.
Monday, August 15 The Petah Tikva Magistrate Court released the two Yitzhar detainees who were arrested over a week ago by the GSS. The GSS interrogators did not succeed in presenting even one piece of evidence against the two. Honenu attorney Yossi Lin, who represented the two detainees, said that, “I am very satisfied with the decision to release the two youths. It was expected, but there is still a very hard feeling that this was a false arrest. The interrogation was highly pressured and very harsh, under inhumane conditions when there was no evidence and the entire purpose was to break their resolve. Only after the police interrogators did not succeed in breaking their resolve and to obtain a confession were they forced to release them, which was appropriate from the beginning.”
Monday, August 15 The GSS continues to harass the released detainees. Yesterday, immediately after their release, one of them was given a summons to interrogation on Wednesday. This morning one of the interrogators from the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron police called his father and demanded that he arrive with his son to the GSS facilities, because the GSS interrogators are interested in speaking with him. Sources close to the released detainees said in response that, “The GSS doesn’t know when to quit. There is not a shred of evidence in this case, but despite that the GSS interrogators are trying to badger the detainees and harass them in any way possible.”

Case #2 – Kedumim resident arrested on suspicion of damaging Arab olive trees
Wednesday, August 3 A young resident of Kedumim was arrested on suspicion of damaging olive trees belonging to Arabs near the community.
Thursday, August 4 After a deliberation at the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court the youth was released, but confined to his community for for seven days in addition to 1,500 NIS bail and signing a guarantee. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar represented the youth.

Case #3 – Two members of Har Bracha’s rapid response squad arrested
Thursday, August 4 Arabs from the village of Burin near Givat Ronen, a hilltop near Har Bracha set a fire in a Givat Ronen olive grove. Residents of the hilltop, with the help of Har Bracha’s rapid response squad, began to extinguish the fire. As the fire was extinguished a rock throwing skirmish developed between Givat Ronen residents, with members of rapid response squad, and Arabs from Burin. One of the members of Har Bracha’s rapid response squad was arrested. This is the forth time in the past few weeks that Arabs from the village of Burin have started fires near Givat Ronen. Last Friday a giant blaze raged in the same location.
Thursday, August 4 IDF forces arrive on the scene led by the regiment commander of the area. According to one of the residents, the commander instructed his soldiers that he wants to see “at least five Jews arrested”. An additional member of of Har Bracha’s rapid response squad is arrested.
Friday. August 5 After interrogation at the Ariel police department the two members of Har Bracha’s rapid response squad arrested while extinguishing the fire set by Arabs at Givat Ronen were released overnight.

Case #4 – Three Hevron residents arrested at the tomb of Otniel ben Kenaz
Tuesday, August 9 IDF soldiers arrested three Hevron residents after tens of residents entered the tomb of Otniel ben Kenaz in the city, despite an IDF ban. Guy Hazut, the brigade commander of Hevron, violated a long-standing custom which takes place every year on the afternoon of the 9th of Av and refused to allow the residents of Hevron to go up to the tomb of Otniel ben Kenaz, in Area A of Hevron. During the night the three were released at the Hevron police station after interrogation.

Case #5 – Three young women arrested at Ramat Migron outpost
Tuesday, August 9 Police arrived at night at the Ramat Migron outpost in the Binyamin region and arrested three young women who were sleeping in one of the buildings of the outpost. The women were taken to the Binyamin police station and interrogated on suspicion of throwing rocks at Arab vehicles.
Wednesday, August 10 An attorney from Honenu made contact with the police in order to clarify whether they intend to bring the women to court or to release them at the police station.

Case #6 – Young woman arrested at Ramat Migron outpost in Binyamin region
Friday, August 12 After being falsely arrested on a claim that she was banned from entering the Binyamin region, the police investigator, Chaim Toledano, decided to arrest a young woman on a claim that she had entered a closed military zone and requested that she be barred from the Binyamin region for 180 days. During the deliberation Toledano could present neither a valid warrant nor a map. To the astonishment of the people present in the courtroom, Toledano took a piece of paper and drew for Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Pollock a map of the area of Ramat Migron and the boundaries of the closed military zone. Despite the false arrest and the fact that the lack of dates and an accompanying map invalidated the warrant, Judge Pollock decided to bar her from entering the Binyamin region for 14 days. Honenu announced that it would consider appealing the restraining order placed on the young woman.
The investigator also claimed that she threatened him and requested that she be distanced from his home. The judge ruled that being as a demonstration in front of a house is not a crime, the statement made by the young woman – she reminded the investigator that there had previously been demonstrations in front of his home, due to his harassment of outpost residents – does not constitute a threat.
Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger responded to the decision and said that, “What has surfaced from the deliberation is that the police search for these young women again and again, without refraining from any means, and turn to the court with baseless requests, for the purpose of preventing legitimate protest.”