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Civil Rights Leader Jailed for Not Showing ID

Shmuel Medad, head of the Honenu legal rights organization, has been in jail since Monday night for not showing his ID card at an IDF checkpoint.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/25/2009, 10:54 AM / Last Update: 11/25/2009, 10:58 AM

Shmuel Medad, head of the Honenu legal rights organization, has been in jail since Monday night for not showing his ID card at an IDF checkpoint.

Medad, widely known as Zangy, was on his way home to Hevron from visiting the families of recent Land of Israel-related arrestees in the Shomron (Samaria) when he reached the Tarkumiye checkpoint. The site is located on the main highway leading from pre-1967 Israel to southern Judea, from Kiryat Gat to just south of Gush Etzion. It has been touted as the future border crossing along the Gaza-Judea road when it was talked of giving the two parts of the Palestinian Authority a connecting highway. The Hamas take-over of Gaza from Fatah has put such talk on hold for now.

Zangy was asked at the checkpoint to show his ID - and, as he has done in the past, he refused. This time, however, instead of merely being forced to wait an hour or so, policemen arrested him and claimed he had “interfered with a policeman in the line of duty.”

Residents who pass through the location say that travel there has become a nightmare, as security forces stationed there arbitrarily demand that residents show identification and hold up traffic. Motorists say they sense that orders have been given "from above" to make the Judea residents’ lives difficult - similar to that of those in Gush Katif in the last few months before the Disengagement/expulsion.

Zangy told the policemen that he had not touched any policeman. He also called the Hevron District Police, who said they know him and can “vouch” for him – but the checkpoint police didn’t wait, and incarcerated him for the night.

Wife Has Been There Before
Zangy’s wife Ettie told Israel National News, “It is not acceptable for someone to be arrested for not showing his ID. On other occasions when someone refuses to show his ID at the checkpoint, he is sometimes detained for a minute or much longer. But why should he be arrested? We are willing to show our ID at a shopping mall and the like, where there is a real security need, but here there is no such need; they are just trying to harass us.”

Ettie Medad herself was imprisoned, together with her baby daughter (the youngest of her ten children), for 25 days in 2005, when she refused to stand trial on Land of Israel-related charges of which she had been acquitted two years earlier for lack of evidence.

Tuesday and Wednesday in Court
On Tuesday morning, Zangy was taken before a Magistrates Court judge in Kiryat Gat. Zangy said that this was a “show and a political trial,” that it is not based on Jewish values, and that he refused to “take part in the performance.”  He said the policemen well know his identity, and that the incident is merely “one more in a chain of similar events.” He noted the arrests of soldiers who object to evicting Jews, and of Tzviya Sariel of Elon Moreh, who has been in jail for three weeks for her refusal to recognize the right of the authorities to try her on what witnesses claim are trumped-up charges related to her right to walk freely in the Land of Israel.

The judge decided to extend Medad’s custody for another 24 hours, and he is scheduled to be brought before a judge on Wednesday morning. Update: On Wednesday, the presiding judge extended custody for yet another 24 hours, but implied that Medad would be released on Thursday.