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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Israelis under constant attack after giving Gaza to terrorists

Israelis under constant attack after giving Gaza to terrorists

September 30, 2005

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=90686 Israel Faces Terrorism on Two Fronts

Thursday, September 29, 2005

IDF forces killed 3 Palestinian terrorists in northern Shomron last night, prompting more threats of continued terrorism. Another Kassam rocket at Sderot was countered by an IDF artillery attack.

In two separate incidents near Jenin during the course of the night, armed Arabs opened fire at Israeli soldiers, who in turn shot and killed them. Two terrorists were killed in the first incident, and a third - Samar Saadi, a leading member of the Al Aksa Brigades terrorist organization - was killed shortly afterwards. Saadi's death prompted Al-Aksa head Zakaria Zubeidi to warn of continued terrorism in response.

Terrorists opened fire at Israelis near Shechem and on the way to the community of Har Brachah last night; no one was hurt.

Israeli forces arrested seven wanted terrorists in Shechem, Ramallah and Bethlehem last night, all members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hundreds of other Arabs have been arrested or taken in for questioning over the past few days regarding their involvement in terror activities.

In Gaza, violence continues to be the order of the day. The current round began with a powerful blast during a Hamas victory parade last Friday that killed some 20 celebrants. Hamas blamed it on Israel and then proceeded to let loose a barrage of 40 Kassam rockets at Sderot and environs, wounding six people. The Israel Air Force responded with a series of bombing raids on various buildings and open areas in Gaza, causing no casualties. Hamas announced that it would stop the rocket attacks, but in fact merely toned them down. Several Kassams were fired this week, and Israel continued to respond with scattered bombing raids, including last night, and even artillery.

A Palestinian Authority report released last night finds that the celebration-explosion that started off the above events was caused by a Hamas rocket, and not Israel. The shrapnel found in the bodies of the dead was found to resemble that of Kassam rockets, which were apparently carried and displayed in a truck on which masked terrorists were showing off their wares. The PA has said it will now forbid weaponry from being displayed or carried during demonstrations, except for that carried by PA security forces.

Arab terrorists also clashed with PA policemen in Gaza last night. The incident began when an IDF force noticed three terrorists crawling near the Karni Crossing, east of what used to be the Israeli community of Netzarim. The Israelis alerted the PA, whose forces soon arrived and were promptly hit with gunfire and a grenade, injuring two of them. The terrorists escaped.

Other forms of PA chaos in Gaza were manifest around the same time last night when Arabs attempted to kill Musa Arafat's former aide. They seriously wounded him and took his weapon. Just three weeks ago, Arafat himself was killed in a similar manner.

IDF Chief Operations Officer Gen. Yisrael Ziv said that if the rocket attacks from Beit Hanoun in Gaza do not cease, "we will demilitarize the entire area. We won't allow any movement, and we will clean out all the rocket launchers."



MIM: What happens to Israelis who are attacked can be seen in the case of Daniel Pinner who is languishing in jail because of an Arab's unverified claims.

Fairness for Daniel Pinner

Evelyn Gordon, THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 7, 2005

What is troubling about Daniel Pinner's case is precisely the fact that it is not unusual. Pinner has been in jail since June 22, when he was arrested for allegedly shooting a Palestinian in the leg during a stone-throwing battle between Palestinians and settlers near Gush Katif. He denies the charge.

Since the bullet was never found, the indictment relies mainly on witnesses' testimony; the court will decide whether contradictions in this testimony (for instance, one witness claims that the shooter wore a white kippa while another says he wore a black hat); and various flaws in police procedure (for instance, police did not conduct a line-up or measure distances and firing angles) suffice to undermine the evidence against him (for instance, that all three witnesses say the shooter used an Uzi, while prosecution and defense agree that the two other armed men present carried M-16s).

What is incontrovertible, however, is that instead of being treated as innocent until proven guilty, Pinner - like thousands of other indicted Israelis - is being treated as guilty until proven innocent: He has thus far spent over five months in jail for a crime that he has not yet been, and may never be, convicted of committing.

If he is ultimately convicted and sentenced to more jail time than he has already served, no injustice will have been done. But if he is acquitted - or even convicted but sentenced to less time than he has already served, as sometimes happens - it will retroactively turn out that he has been imprisoned unjustly. And unfortunately, that is not uncommon: Though suspects cannot be remanded unless there is prima facie evidence against them, such evidence often proves inadequate for conviction.

Two recent cases illustrate the point. One is that of Captain R., who was charged with "confirming the kill" of a teenaged girl in Gaza. The indictment, based mainly on testimony from two of his soldiers, seemed solid: No one could have predicted that both men would confess in court to having fabricated their testimony in order to get rid of a captain they disliked. But the fact remains that R., who was ultimately acquitted, spent almost four months under arrest on his base until these mid-trial admissions caused the judge to release him.

The second is that of Noam Federman, who was arrested in April 2002 and charged with belonging to a Jewish terror cell. He spent 46 days in jail by court order, a year under administrative house arrest and over eight months in administrative detention before the prosecution withdrew the indictment in May 2004 (the state claims that the 20 months of administrative incarceration were unconnected to the indictment, but since they began soon after the courts decided against remanding Federman and ended abruptly when the indictment was withdrawn, this claim strains credulity). Here, too, the prosecution could not have foreseen that its key witness would so discredit himself with contradictory testimony in other trials that it would be left without a case. But meanwhile, Federman spent two years incarcerated for a crime of which he was ultimately cleared.

SUCH ACQUITTALS are precisely why defendants should be remanded until the end of proceedings only in exceptional cases. Yet in Israel, remands are relatively common, even when there would seem to be alternative solutions.

Pinner, for instance, has never before been accused of a weapons offense, though he has owned a gun for about five years. That in itself would seem to indicate that he is hardly a public menace. But even if one assumes that he is a threat, jail is not the only solution: The courts could confiscate his gun and restrict him to some community where he would not encounter Palestinians, or even put him under house arrest. Either would infringe on his freedom far less than throwing him in jail.

Moreover, little effort is made to minimize remanded defendants' time in jail by trying them expeditiously. In Pinner's case, for instance, there have been only five hearings over the past five months; a sixth and supposedly final hearing is scheduled for December 15. In other words, a trial that should have taken a week was instead dragged out for more than six months.

Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel, in her recent rejection of Pinner's application for release from jail, described this as a "reasonable pace." And by Israeli standards, it is: Many trials last far longer. But by any objective standard, there is nothing reasonable about keeping someone who might yet be acquitted - someone who is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty - in jail for six months for a trial that could be finished in a week. Granted, if Pinner is guilty, no harm has been done. But if he is acquitted, the difference between six months and six days in jail is enormous.

What makes such foot-dragging particularly outrageous is that expeditious trials are available for the well-connected, who need them less. Just last week, Tel Aviv District Court President Uri Goren offered to hear the case of former judge Osnat Alon-Laufer, who is charged with illegally obtaining her husband's phone records and harassing his suspected girlfriend, every day until it is finished. Yet Alon-Laufer is neither in jail nor under any lesser form of restriction. Thus the harm that she would suffer from a drawn-out trial is far less than that suffered by defendants who have been remanded.

The Israeli court system pays lip service to the presumption of innocence, but in practice, it frequently treats defendants as if they were presumed guilty: People are remanded until the end of proceedings even when less restrictive measures would do, and their trials are conducted lackadaisically, on the assumption that the jail time does not matter, because it will eventually be deducted from their sentences. The result is that innocent people often spend months in jail - not due to unavoidable mistakes, but out of callous disregard for the possibility that they might be innocent. And that is something that no self-respecting legal system ought to tolerate.

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