Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The police – at it again

  1. The police – at it again

This morning the Hebron police showed up at Beit Hadassah at 6:30. Bright and early, almost in time for Rosh Hodesh (New Month) morning prayer services. They had two targets: a mother of nine and a 13-year old girl.

First they started looking for the 13-year old. There were dozens of them, regular police, detectives, riot squad, and officers, including the Hebron city police chief and the regional police chief. All there, looking for 13 year old Chenia. And waiting down the street, across from the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, dozens more, waiting to be called. (An aside: Chenya is about as large as my pinky.)

The forces had only one problem: they didn't know were Chenya lived. So they searched for a while and then gave up, temporarily.

What was the awful crime Chenya is accused of? About a year and a half ago, when Chenya was 11, one of her neighborhood friends, arrested near Beit Hadassah, was to be taken to the Hebron Police Station. She asked Chenya to accompany her, so she wouldn't be alone. Chenya asked the police if she could come with her friend, and was answered positively. So, both of them climbed into the police van and traveled a few minutes to the police station. When they arrived Chenya found herself being accused, questioned, and booked for disturbing a policeman in the course of his duty. Today, the trial was supposed to begin. The police came to take Chenya, insuring that she would appear in court for the trial. But, as already explained, they couldn't find her apartment.

So, the police went after their next victim, mother of nine, Etti Meidad. The beginning of Etti Meidad's saga can be read at:

The last time Etti was apprehended, in the beginning of August, she spent a month in jail with her 9 month old infant girl, before a judge released her, both from her cell and from her obligation to appear in court. However, the judge changed his mind and issued a warrant, which permitted the police to arrest her should she refuse to sign it, and deposit 1,000 shekels bond, insuring her appearance in court.

When the police knocked on her door at about 8:30 this morning, Etti was still asleep. The police, upset at being ignored, broke the door down, and marched into the apartment. About an hour later, Etti, accompanied by her husband Zangi (Director of Honenu), and a string of children, made her way down stairs to an awaiting police van. Together with infant Miriam, she left for Jerusalem, again, arrested and in custody.

When arriving in Jerusalem, the police immediately took their victim to court, to appear before the judge, who was quite surprised to see them. This, because he had signed a warrant ordering Etti Meidad to be brought before him tomorrow, not today. He immediately threw the police out of the courtroom and refused to listen to them. Rather than release Etti, they decided to keep her (illegally, it seems), in custody.

Israeli law demands that babies and young children, while in a car, be placed in a special car seat. Before leaving Hebron, Etti and Zangi requested that their baby daughter be so protected, in the police vehicle. However, the police, not being prepared to deal with infants, decided to take Etti and Miriam without a car seat. On the way back to Hebron from Jerusalem, they had an accident, and Miriam, flying from her mother's arms, was hit on the head. Fortunately, her injury is not serious.

For the time being, Etti is still in custody.

After Etti was taken away the police returned to their original goal: looking for 13-year old Chenya. By this time they had located her apartment, but, lo and behold, when they knocked on the door, no one answered. Here too, the door was in danger of destruction, but being massive, much more so than the Meidad's door, the police, surprisingly, decided to leave without breaking it down. So they gathered their tools and left, until next time…tomorrow, or the day after, or, maybe even tonight. Never fear, they will return.


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