Daily Israel Report

Yitzhar Couple Threatened, 'You'll Never See Your Kids Again'

Police arrest couple from town of IDF clashes over their car model, reportedly threaten them and don't allow them to see lawyer.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/2/2014, 8:25 AM

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir
Flash 90

A woman from Yitzhar in Samaria, who was arrested by the police along with her husband for suspicion that their car was involved in a "price tag" vandalism, says investigators threatened to take away her children.

The couple's detention was extended by a Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Thursday. The two were arrested because their car was reportedly similar to one involved in a "price tag" incident in the Israeli-Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, where a mosque was torched and graffiti scrawled nearby.

The woman's detention was extended until Friday morning, while her husband's was set until Sunday. The judge decided to make the extension because they two exercised their right to remain silent.

However, Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who represents the couple for the legal aid group Honenu, argues that the silence occurred because the two were not allowed to see a lawyer.

In the hearing, Ben-Gvir stated that the police investigators intimidated the woman, breaching her basic rights. He claims that one investigator shouted at her and said that her children had been taken by a social worker.

"You can put an X on (your children's) pictures because you'll never see them again," the investigator shouted at the couple, according to Ben-Gvir.

Ben-Gvir remarked "the actions of the police are scandalous. Police investigators severely infringed on the rights of the arrested, and especially the rights of the woman, with the goal of putting inappropriate pressure on her to force a confession on acts that she didn't commit."

The attorney added that the police "didn't allow the couple to give their version of events, because they were prevented from having legal representation. I'm certain that now, after the couple was allowed to talk with a lawyer, they will give their version that will clarify that they have no part in these acts, and they will be released quickly from detention."

"That's my sister"

The brother of the arrested woman wrote to Arutz Sheva about her arrest on Thursday, saying "apparently when you're a settler, and of the worst kind that lives in Yitzhar, there are no laws."

Yitzhar has been the center of a circular pattern of confrontations between IDF soldiers and a violent element in the town, which escalated in mid-April after a house was destroyed, sparking tire-slashings on two IDF cars. In response four local homes were demolished, setting off clashes and the destruction of an IDF outpost.

Explaining the reason his sister and brother-in-law were arrested, the man wrote "they have a white Suzuki Baleno car, ...a similar car to the one that was in the area where a price tag happened, and that is suspected of belonging to the arson suspects."

"We have several cars like that in Yitzhar, and a least several dozen in Samaria, and several hundred or maybe thousand in the state of Israel," wrote the man. "So what? That doesn't stop the police from arresting whoever they want."

Describing what the couple went through in detention, he listed "shouts, separation between the couple, threats that they won't see their children and that they were taken to a social worker, prevention from meeting a lawyer, an extension of detention for no reason, secret recordings, starvation and more and more. Who knows what's happening to them now as they're jailed."

Police brutality against Yitzhar

The case is not the first of its kind targeting Yitzhar residents since the recent series of clashes.

Last week a young Yitzhar resident was released to house arrest after being arrested on suspicions of being involved with the demolition of an IDF outpost. Police had initially requested the court to detain the teen for another five days. 

The youth argued with the support of evidence that he was actually part of a group of teens who arrived after clashes at the outpost in a show of support for the reserve soldiers.

Earlier in April, a Yitzhar woman claimed that police treated her severely, confining her and depriving her of her rights for hours under cruel conditions, after she was arrested on trumped-up charges.

The Yitzhar community has accused security forces of carrying out "collective punishment" on the small Samaria community after the clashes occurred.