Indictment of Yitzhar resident withdrawn

Zarog shortly before his detention; Photo credit: Free use

Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 14:02 The police prosecutor’s office informed the court that they have withdrawn an indictment against the Yitzhar resident in whose house Neriya Zarog barricaded himself when he was served with an administrative order in November 2019. Zarog chained himself to a large, bulky device in the resident’s house in protest of an administrative order distancing him from the Shomron region. Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski, who represented the home-owner welcomed the decision by the police prosecutor’s office to withdraw the indictment.

Poleski: “We thank the Shomron Police prosecutor’s office, who came ‘with clean hands’, re-examined the case, and decided to withdraw the indictment. We hope that from now on, the same objective policy will be adopted, and we will be happy to see the same consideration in similar cases. Many cases have been filed against hilltop youth and residents of Yehuda and Shomron that should not have been filed. We hope that this is the start of a suitable policy.”

The indictment detailed the stages of the incident: “On the date of 10.11.19, Neriya arrived at the home of the defendant in Yitzhar. When the policemen entered the ground floor of the house, where the defendant was with his children at the time, they showed the defendant a detention warrant. One of the policemen asked the defendant, ‘Who lives in the upper story of the house?’ and the defendant replied, ‘Don’t know.’

“When the policemen heard hammering sounds coming from the loft, they climbed the stairs leading to the loft, knocked on the door, and shouted several times, ‘Police, open up,’ but their demand was not answered. When the policemen broke through the door to the loft, they discovered that a metal grid with chains and locks had been placed behind it, which prevented them from entering the loft. After the policemen used their break-in tool kit and entered the loft of the defendant’s house, they noticed Neriya, chained to a metal device.”

The policemen attempted to extricate Zarog from the device with their break-in tools. When their attempt failed, they summoned fire-fighting and rescue forces, who arrived with special equipment. Five and a half hours later, Zarog was removed from the device and detained.

“By his actions described above, the defendant aided Neriya in disturbing the policemen in their line of duty, thereby thwarting them,” thus the Yitzar resident was charged.

At the time, Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski censured the indictment: “The indictment is unfounded and even ridiculous. I have never encountered an indictment in which the defendant was charged with aiding the disturbance of a policeman, especially in circumstances such as this, in which it not clear at all what assistance was given.”

Poleski explained why the indictment was problematic: “The Israel Police have lost all restraint in their battle against Neriya Zarog: their sense of fairness, their sense of justice, and their judicial reasoning. The indictment pertains to the case of Neriya Zarog, who was served with an administrative order unjustifiably distancing him from his home. The order was met with great objection from senior members of the leadership in Yehuda and Shomron, including Yossi Dagan, the head of the Shomron Regional Council. Therefore it is not clear why the indictment was filed. Certainly it is not clear how an indictment was filed against someone else, regarding whom it is not obvious what he did and how he is connected to the incident. The mere fact that Zarog was in the defendant’s house is not cause to attribute any crime to him.”

Neriya Zarog’s detention; Video credit: Free use (See here for more details.)

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