Haaretz newspaper
Haaretz newspaperIsrael news photo

The police have begun a criminal investigation against Ilana Hammerman, a reporter for Haaretz who knowingly took three PA young women across the Green Line – and wrote that she will do it again.

Hammerman wrote a story for Haaretz this past May 13 in which she describes how she smuggled the three through an IDF checkpoint, the purpose of which is to ensure that only those with valid entry permits cross through. Countless terrorist attacks have been prevented by alert soldiers manning the crossings. 

It was the Land of Israel Legal Forum that originally alerted the Attorney General’s office to the apparent crime. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein informed the Forum that he had asked the police to investigate.

The Forum’s letter stated that Hammerman violated a long-standing law that states: “Whoever gave lodging, for pay or otherwise, to a foreign resident who entered Israel or is in Israel illegally, or helped, for pay or otherwise, a foreign resident to obtain lodging, is liable to two years in prison or a fine… One who takes in a car a foreign resident who is in Israel illegally, is liable to two years in prison or a fine.” The law in question is the Law of Entry to Israel, clauses 12a and 12c.

Excerpts from Hammerman’s article:

Aya is a young woman of about 18, whom I love. Lin and Yasmin are her cousins, and are about a year or so older. All three live in the same village in the "Land of Judea" … the exact name isn’t important… "I can't take you to Istanbul [I told them], "but I can take you to Tel Aviv! And Tel Aviv is beautiful, too…” You'll all be traveling there illegally, I told her, which means that I am going to be smuggling you in, but I'm up for it. And you girls? All three were ready and willing, too. We picked a date and agreed they would all wear modern Western-style clothes and no headscarves… When I got home I checked the map and mentally reviewed the conditions at the checkpoints that I know in the Land of Judea.’
After describing why the Tarqumiya and Highway 60 checkpoints, south of Jerusalem, were too strict for her purposes, Hammerman writes that she chose an easier one:
…the Betar Ilit checkpoint, on Highway 375 [near Efrat]. I cross this checkpoint on my bike sometimes and know it well. It could be easier to get through… The sign said, "Welcome to the Betar crossing point. This crossing is designated for Israelis only. Crossing over or transporting of someone who is not Israeli is prohibited!! An 'Israeli' is a resident of Israel, someone whose place of residence is in the area or is eligible to immigrate in accordance with the 1950 Law of Return, as valid in Israel." Despite the awkward wording, I understood what was written on the sign and what was permissible and prohibited… I read the sign and understood it quite well, but I did not agree. I simply could not agree with it.” 
 She warned them in advance:  
 “If they stop us at the checkpoint and ask us: What's up? How are things? How are you doing? You say: hakol beseder - everything's fine. Might even be a good idea to pronounce it like this: hakol be-say-der… The trip to the Betar crossing point passed in almost complete silence. When we approached the checkpoint, the red sign, the metal tower, the speed bumps, the concrete barriers, the soldiers' position, I felt my legs shaking - and not because of the bumpy road. I took a deep breath, slowed down but didn't stop, rolled down the window, gave the soldier a casual wave and he indifferently motioned for me to keep going. "We made it!" I drove a few hundred more meters and then stopped the car on the side of the road to breathe a sigh of relief and turned to look at my three Palestinian passengers. There was no need for words: We had made it through and now we were free to go have fun.”
Hammerman then describes the day of fun to which she treated her three illegal companions, including TelAvivUniversity, the Land of Israel Museum, DizengoffCenter – and an incident in which she lied to an undercover policeman and told him that her three companions were Israeli residents from “East Jerusalem.” 

The article concludes with a vow to break the law yet again:  

 “And it wasn't the last time I'll do something like this. There will certainly be other times. Because I, who returned them safely to their village at 2 A.M., bursting with joy, do not recognize the legality of the checkpoints and fences, or the legality of military rule over the places that Lin and Aya and Yasmin are from…”