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Itai Zar to Remain in Prison for At Least Three More Weeks

A Petach Tikva judge ruled on Sunday that Itai Zar, the community leader of Havat Gilad, should remain in custody for three more weeks.
By Avi Yellin
First Publish: 12/6/2009, 10:59 PM / Last Update: 12/6/2009, 11:08 PM

Israel news photo
A District Court judge in Petach Tikva ruled on Sunday that Itai Zar, the community leader and landowner of the community of Havat Gilad (Gilad Farm) in Samaria, should remain in custody for three more weeks, pending a military report on charges of allegedly slashing tires.

Two weeks ago, when an Arab Border policeman raced his military jeep through Havat Gilad while driving in the opposite direction of traffic, Zar attempted to halt the vehicle and asked the driver to stop endangering the community. The officer reacted by screaming at Zar for attempting to tell him what to do and shouted that as a representative of the law, he could continue to do as he pleases. The quarrel escalated until the Arab, already out of his vehicle, threatened and then began assaulting Zar.

Local students witnessed the incident and ran over to the Arab officer, forcing him back and slashing the tires of his vehicle to prevent him from continuing his rampage through the hilltop community. The following day, police arrested Zar, claiming that he and not the students had slashed the tires. Local activists allege that the incident was most likely a pretext to remove Zar from the area in wake of the government’s ban on Jewish building in the region.

Last Tuesday, a Kfar Saba judge agreed to release Zar under house arrest in Jerusalem, but police appealed the decision and successfully lobbied for Zar to remain incarcerated.