Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Supporting 18-Year-Old Girl Political Prisoner


Supporting 18-Year-Old Girl Political Prisoner
and Calling to Account Her Religious Settler Jailers

The young girls who were arrested and detained for three and a half weeks in the Neve Tirza prison were recently released. As will be recalled, the 13 and 14-year-olds were arrested for being found in an outpost near Beit El. When they informed police that they had done nothing wrong and would not cooperate with the (in)justice system by identifying themselves, they were made to undergo shocking humiliations and abuse by a system threatened by their refusal to be intimidated. The girls persisted in their stance and, in the end, they prevailed and were released.

Not all of them, however. There is another girl who is still in prison. She asks that her name not be publicized and so I will call her T. This girl, whose story is told below, is standing alone against the entire system, undergoing endless rounds of daily harassment and small cruelties intended to break her.

Although T. is strong, it is important that we strengthen her and show her that she is not alone. The public is asked to send her supporting letters. The letters (preferably in English) can be faxed to the Honeinu organization which is representing her at 972-3-7256213. If you can't send a fax and/or if you want to write in English, please email us your letter and we will make sure to print it and hand it over.
Email: nmatar@netvision.net.il
Honeinu will ensure that she gets them.

Below is the story of this girl together with the names of disloyal Yesha residents who are among those in the justice system who have been mistreating and persecuting the girls:

T. lives in Elon Moreh in the Shomron. Shortly before Hanukah, Arabs entered the municipal boundaries of Elon Moreh to harvest olives with a police and army escort. The girl and a friend of hers saw the Arabs on the land within the yishuv and yelled at them to leave. The security forces arrested her.

She told her interrogators that she had broken no law nor engaged in any criminal behavior, and refused to sign any documents or in any way recognize their authority. Since her arrest on the eve of Hanukah she has been imprisoned in the infamous Neve Tirza women prison! They detained her (i.e. imprisoned her) until the end of all legal proceedings against her and indicted her on all kinds of false and fabricated charges.

Usually when a person is detained until the end of trial, the prosecutors must do everything in their power to speed up the proceedings because they are detaining someone who may well be innocent. In this case, however, they’re doing the reverse: they’re doing everything in their power to delay and stretch out the trial. When the trial started, instead of setting subsequent hearing dates to follow closely upon one another, they wait man weeks between every hearing. For weeks on end, T. sits in prison, undergoing state sanctioned torments, while she awaits the next hearing.

This judicial persecution doesn't suffice our anti-Jewish (in)justice system, this girl must also be tormented within the prison itself:

*When she first arrived at Neve Tirzah, T. refused to undergo a strip search. ‘I’m not a criminal, you have no reason to search me,’ she correctly reasoned. She was punished for her refusal with three days in isolation.

*When the arrested girls from the Bet El outpost arrived at Neve Tirza, they were put together with T. for a very short time. But the prison authorities quickly severed all connection between T. and the other girls simply to distress T. and to break her. When rabbis came to visit the Beit El girls, they were not always allowed to see T. So that she would feel totally alone. The other girls wanted to give T. their Telecards ­ the prisoners’ only connection to the outside world ­ but the prison authorities refused, in order to cut her off completely from the outside world.

Because the girl refuses to get up for roll call in prison (“I'm not a criminal, why should I get up for roll-call?,” she correctly reasoned.), she is punished with long stretches in isolation. And isolation means isolation: A small cell. No electrical outlet. Which means there’s no possibility of heating the space. They won't allow her books. She had no visits from her family for the last month. Alone. Alone. Day and night. Night and day.

Afterwards they put her in the “separation” ward, which is a semi-punishment ward. There, books are allowed, but she wasn't allowed them. ‘Submit a request,’ they told her. When she submitted a request and her mother came from far away to deliver the books, they allowed her to see her mother in a room with a thick window separating them where one could talk only by telephone. When her mother wanted to give her the books the prison authorities told her that they wouldn't permit it. Her mother replied, ‘I’m not moving from here until you give my daughter her books.’ After some commotion they finally gave T. her books.

These are just a few small examples of the abuse against innocent Jewish girls who are sitting in prison for only one reason: the system is A-F-R-A-I-D of Jews whose primary loyalty is to the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel and not the system.

In contrast to the young girls who are willing to defy a system that has betrayed its purpose of promoting and protecting Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel in favor of destroying the Jewish presence in Biblical Israel, there are Yesha residents and religious residents from around the country who are aiding and abetting the persecution of the religious Zionist activists.

Just as we must support the faithful, we must censure the disloyal Jews who oppress them. Below is a very partial listing and accounting of these collaborators:

The officer in charge of inmates in Neve Tirzah is a settler from Talmon by the name of Yoram Shriki. From information that the Beit El girls gave to Etty Medad of Honeinu, Shriki singled them out for harsh treatment and continues to be particularly harsh and cruel towards T. For example: for a long time the girls weren't allowed to use the telephone. When they were finally allowed to call their families, the prison authorities gave each girl only a minute or a minute and a half to speak before severing the connection. Yoram Shriki could have prevented these kinds of abuses. Whoever knows this Yoram or whoever has acquaintances and friends in Talmon should ask for an explanation for this behavior.

We cannot remain silent when Jews who are supposedly “one of us” aid and abet the anti-Jewish (in)justice system. Most reprehensible are the religious state prosecutors and judges living in Yesha, who allay their feelings of inferiority by proving to their Leftist masters that they can be cruel to their brothers and sisters who step out of line.

In the many trials Women in Green have undergone, we have personally experienced a good many of this type ­ unfortunately we never got their names. As for the girls, we were told that the state prosecutor in T’s case is a man by the name of Yehuda Shaulzon from Elkana. In another hearing, the prosecutor is a religious woman from Beit Shemesh by the name of Shir Laufer. Whoever might know them, please ask them not to abuse innocent Jewish girls and other political prisoners whose faithfulness to the Land of Israel is being punished.

If settlers and religious Jews are going to join the mud of the Israeli judicial system, they should remember that their loyalty should be to their people, their land, and to the Torah, and not to the Leftist Bolshevik regime. At the very minimum, these state prosecutors should end the cruel prolongation of T’s trial by setting hearings dates close together instead of stretching it out endlessly over months and months.

In conclusion, we cannot remain silent. We must strengthen T., and call those who deprive her of her basic civil and human rights to account. Please write to T. and send your letters to the fax number and email address provided above.

From Women in Green

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