Friday, August 25, 2006

 

Save 2 Jews

HELP DANNY AND ITZIK HALAMISH

Dear Friends,

Many things have changed since the war in Lebanon. But one thing has not yet changed in our country: the legal persecution of loyal Jews whose only crime is wanting to live in the Land of Israel and trying to defend themselves when attacked by Arabs.

We call upon all of you to read the kakfaesque story of Danny and Itzik Halamish, two brothers who live in Maaleh Rehavam (a small community of 30 residents, in the Judean desert not far from Tekoa) . Danny and Itzik are dear personal friends of ours and we will do all we can to prevent them from going to jail. Itzik and Danny are two out of 5 sons of the Halamish family. The Halamish parents were among the founders of the community of Ofra. They have raised 5 wonderful sons , all proud and loyal Jews. Four of them decided to follow in the footsteps of their parents and be the second generation of Halamishes that would found a new community in the land of Israel. Together with friends, the Halamish boys founded Maaleh Rehavam 4 years ago.

Itzik is 27 years old and works as a builder of homes and as a carpenter. Women in Green leaders and members met Itzik in Kfar Yam,Gush Katif, where he spent the last few months helping to build tent cities for those outsiders who came to support GK. They have stayed in close contact since then. Danny is 36 years old, married to Limor and they have a one year old baby girl, Naama.

If we do not intervene, those 2 wonderful Jews might end up in jail for months- accused and found guilty of things they never did. We must help them gather the funds to cover the expenses for an appeal. Please help them by:

1) taking the few minutes necessary to read the story

2) forward the story to all of your different lists-

3) if you can, help them financially. For details as to how to send tax

deductible donations, see at the end of the story.


With love from Israel, Ruth and Nadia Matar, Women in Green

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Danny and Itzik Halamish ­ trial summary
(Please Disseminate)

Background: A number of incidents have occurred in Gush Etzion in which Jews have been attacked by, or with the aid of, Arab shepherds: Dov Driben was murdered by Arab shepherds; two children, Kobi Mandel and Yossi Ashram, were murdered in the Haritun Cave by Arab shepherds; prior to the murderous attack on the settlement of Carmei Zur, Arab shepherds observed the settlement for 30 days and constructed a model of it on a sand table in an orchard near the settlement; About two months ago, Arab shepherds stabbed a Jewish couple near a spring close to the settlement of Bat Ayin. The IDF regards the shepherds as a threat, and consequently refers to them as such in briefings given to guards, and also drives them away from the proximity of Jewish settlements. At the beginning of 2004 Arab shepherds began approaching the region of Ma'aleh Rehavam and Sdeh Bar. The IDF, in cooperation with the security officer of Sdeh Bar, drove them off on several occasions.

The Incident: On February 21, 2004, Arab shepherds again approached the settlement of Ma'aleh Rehavam, in a place that was not the usual one for grazing. The Sdeh Bar Security Officer, Baruch Feldbaum, attempted unsuccessfully to drive them away. Feldbaum requested help from Ma'aleh Rehavam. Two members of the Ma'aleh Rehavam Fast Response Team, Danny and Itzik Halamish, joined him and drove with him to the place, to which in the meantime additional Arab shepherds had arrived. The Arabs refused to leave the place. More and more Arabs arrived, and their level of hostility increased as their numbers grew. When there were about 20 Arabs near the Jews, with even more Arabs approaching, the Arabs close to the Jews threatened them with stones and sticks, and began surrounding Danny and Itzik. Baruch was standing a few dozen yards further back. At this stage Itzik fired a single warning shot in the air from his pistol, but this had no effect. Baruch Feldbaum fired a few shots aimed at the ground, and thus enabled Danny and Itzik to withdraw. The Jews retreated and drove away from the place. One Arab received a superficial wound from ricochets of stones. The Arabs contacted the police and filed a complaint about being attacked.

The Treatment of the Complaint: The police arrested Baruch, Danny and Itzik. They were interrogated for three days using a variety of methods, that included lies, threats, and false accusations. (The police attempted to accuse them of the murder of an Arab who had been in the region of the Arab village of Tekoa.) The Jews maintained that the Arabs had in fact attacked them, but the police ignored this claim and refused to check it out. The police have impounded the Jews’ weapons in order to examine them. The weapons were taken from them and were not returned, but neither were they examined. Near the duty officer's desk in the Etzion police station, there was attached to the wall a notice issued by the police general staff stating that the residents of the Jewish hill settlements are problematic and that one of the aims of the police in 2004 was to submit 20 charges against them. During the interrogation the chief interrogator told Baruch that the police intended to submit a charge sheet against the Jews regardless of the results of the interrogation. The Jews were charged with assault and injury under aggravating circumstances, as well as acts of recklessness and negligence. The Arabs were not summonsed for an interrogation or even a clarification, and the police admitted in court that they did not intend to interrogate the Arabs at all.

The Judicial Process: According to the Hebrew judicial process as laid down in the Bible, the function of the judge is to investigate and question and thus arrive at the truth. The State of Israel does not use the Hebrew judicial process but employs instead the adversary legal system, which is based on the method of rivalry. In this method the prosecution attacks and the accused defends himself. The judge does not interfere in the discussion but gives a ruling based only on the material presented to him. This method originated in Europe and is based on the principle of a duel between knights. (Each party hires a knight to fight on his behalf and the judge decides the winner.) In this method the personal opinion of the judge can be decisive regarding the result of the trial. In Britain and the US this method is balanced by means of a jury ­ a group of ordinary people (not lawyers) whose function is to determine if the accused is guilty or not. This method prevents a person being found guilty or innocent, as the case may be, in circumstances that an ordinary person would consider unreasonable. In Israel there is no jury and the judge gives a ruling as he sees fit. In Israel the judges are appointed by other judges, and cannot be dismissed. A judge approaching retirement or who otherwise does not expect a promotion is not under any form of supervision or criticism.

The Trial: The prosecution claimed that the Jews came to the place with the intention of harming the Arabs, and that the Arabs were grazing their flocks innocently. The prosecution claimed that the IDF does not regards the shepherds as a threat, even though the prosecution witness from the regional brigade HQ gave evidence to the contrary. Four Arab prosecution witnesses gave contradictory evidence: their evidence conflicted with their statements in the police station on the day of the incident; and their evidence contradicted that of each other, regarding important details, such as who fired, and whether the shots were fired before or after the arguments between the Jews and the Arabs. The Arabs gave evidence, and the prosecution claimed, that an Arab child aged 4 was injured in his head from the shots fired. The army paramedic who accompanied the soldiers who met the Arabs making the complaint, gave evidence that he was shown an Arab child aged 8 with no injuries. The defense argued that it was the Security Officer's function to look after the security of the settlers and to drive off the Arabs from places near the residential areas, and that Danny and Itzik acted under the orders of the Security Officer. Even if Baruch acted in excess of his authority, they were still supposed to conform with his instructions. The defense claimed that the Arabs were the attackers, and that the Jews acted in self defense.

The Court Ruling: The accused were found guilty of all the charges. All their arguments were rejected. The conviction was based on two principles: Firstly, the judge ruled that the evidence of the Arabs was reliable, in contrast to the evidence of the Jews that was not, because the Arabs gave evidence without contradictions while the Jews contradicted themselves. The judge did not indicate what were the contradictions in the evidence of the Jews, and ignored the obvious contradictions in the evidence of the Arabs, including those indicated specifically by the defense. Secondly, the judge ruled that the situation in which the Jews were surrounded by dozens of Arabs armed with stones and sticks, with additional Arabs approaching, was not dangerous, nor was there any reason to think that it was dangerous. The judge ignored the arguments of the defense mentioned here, as well as additional arguments. It should also be mentioned that during the hearings regarding extension of the period of detention, even before the Jews had made any statement, the evidence was examined by Justice of the Peace Shimoni and District Judge Ravid. Both judges wrote that the evidence indicated that the claim of self defense put forward by the defense could not be rejected out of hand. The Security Officer, Baruch, was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, that was later reduced to six months after two appeals. Danny and Itzik are likely to receive a similar sentence. This is not an exceptional case. Settlers are being brought to trial in a systematic way. For example, ten years ago an Arab terrorist ran down Jewish hitch-hikers at the Giva Tzarfatit junction in Jerusalem. The terrorist was shot and killed by several people who were present at the time. The police arrested one of the Jews who had shot the terrorist and confiscated his pistol. The police issued a press statement saying that the investigation had indicated that this was a road accident and not a terrorist attack. On the very same day an Arab terrorist organization announced that they were responsible for the attack, and the police were forced to rescind their statement. The person who shot the Arab terrorist received a commendation from the IDF, but the police refused to return his gun to him. Danny and Itzik were part of the Rapid Response Team of Ma'aleh Rehavam, but they are now not permitted to possess a gun. The defense of their settlement has been gravely harmed as a result of this incident. This is not the only case in which the police have damaged the security of the settlers.

Danny and Itzik Halamish intend to appeal against their conviction. The appeal will cost a lot of money (tens of thousands of dollars). If you wish to help, you can send a contribution to HONENU.

The HONENU Non Profit organization provides legal aid to hundreds of Jews who are participating in the struggle for Eretz Israel. Contributions to Honenu are recognized for tax purposes in Israel (Regd. non profit organization No. 580386571, according to section 46B of the income tax law); and in the USA (Tax ID: 30-0198003). Honenu will transfer the money to Danny and Itzik without deducting a fee. Should any money remain after the appeal, it will be given to Honenu. www.honenu.org.il

Please mail Shekel checks to Halamish, Ofra 90627, Israel.

For Tax-deductible dollar checks please write check to "HONENU".

Do not forget to earmark it: "for Danny and Itzik Halamish" and send it to: HONENU, 8204 Lefferts Blvd, Suite 381 Kew Gardens, New York 11415, USA.


=============================================
Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380
mailto:michael@womeningreen.org
http://www.womeningreen.org

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