Uri Zackhem on behalf of Lin Dovrat | 22.08.2004 11:01 | Repression
Summary of previous chapters
Tali Fahima, 28, a legal secretary in Tel-Aviv, originally from Kiryat-Gat, travelled last year to meet Zakariya Zbeidi, the Jenin leader of the Al-Aqsa Brigades. Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Tali (a Likud voter) had gradually begun to lose her confidence in the established media. After intensive study on the internet, obsessive reading of the news, and conversations with Palestinians, she decided to do something, and to meet the person who seemed to her to be one of the bitterest enemies of the state of Israel. Her stay in a refugee camp shocked her. In March 2004, she announced to the media that she was prepared to act as a human shield for Zbeidi against the assassination policy. When she realised that this declaration would not prevent the Israeli army from murdering her too, she decided to attempt to revive Arna Mer’s educational project in Jenin, and to set up there an occupational training centre for children of the ruined camp. After a stay of some weeks in the camp, while working on preparation of a building for the project and developing her links with the community, she surrendered for interrogation by the Shin Bet, which accused her of collaboration with the enemy during wartime. The intense and degrading interrogation ended after a week with her release without charges.
On Monday 9 August, on her way to Jenin, she was arrested for a second time.
Report from the second hearing into the extension of her arrest, 19 August 2004
“The most serious fact is that the overwhelming majority of this has not been an investigation of anything (Fahima) has done, but rather of her political positions . . . The political positions of a suspect are not a matter for investigation – in effect, the interrogation has been conducted as a campaign of political persuasion of the suspect . . . they are attempting to prove to her that she is politically mistaken, they are giving her history lessons, debating with her whether this should be described as occupation, whether Palestinian fighters should be defined as freedom fighters or as terrorists. They have tried for hours to convince her that there is no occupation”.
Attorney Smadar Ben-Natan, Fahima’s representative, during the court hearing.
Tali Fahima, a young woman with no previous political experience, is paying a high price for her opposition to the occupation. On Thursday 19 August, her detention was extended for four days; she had already been held for ten days at a Shin Bet detention centre. The decision of Judge Kasirer was based on secret material, which Fahima’s representatives, Attorney Ben-Natan and Attorney Laski, were of course not allowed to see. This material apparently includes collaborators’ evidence and the reports from the aide-memoire of the interrogations. Unlike in criminal investigations, the Shin Bet is not obliged to present a detailed transcript of the interrogation, but rather a general report which it sums up in an aide-memoire.
According to Tali – and this has not been denied by the state’s attorney – she has not been specifically interrogated about the alleged offences during the past ten days of intensive investigation. When Tali asked questions about the allegations against her, ie assistance in the perpetration of an attack (Which attack? When was it supposed to have occurred? What was her alleged role?), she received no answer. Even Judge Modrik, who heard the appeal against the first extension of her arrest, noted that “we are talking about alleged involvement at a not-entirely-defined level in acts of sabotage or their preparation”, but added that he had no doubt “that the purpose of the extension of her arrest is in order to conclude the investigation”.
We must ask whether the Shin Bet investigator known as Albert didn’t explain the purpose of the detention more accurately, when he candidly informed Tali that he wanted to return her to being a good Jew.
On Monday 23 August Tali will be brought for the third time, to the Petach-Tikva Magistrates’ Court in Hess Street. We will be there, and will keep you updated.
Uri Zackhem on behalf of Lin Dovrat