Three girls remain in jail
Three girls remain in jail

Three teenaged girls continue to be held in prison - despite a ruling by a District Court judge implying that the police should have released them this past Friday.

District Court Justice Noam Solberg ruled last Wednesday, regarding one of seven incarcerated girls, that whether or not the police succeed in identifying her, she must be freed by Friday at noon.  Judge Solberg hinted that it is up to the police to identify them, and that it is not the girls' obligation to identify themselves.

As a result, the police entered the homes of several of the girls on Thursday night and confiscated their photos.  Consequently, the next day, four of the girls were released. (A baby sister was born to one of them just a few hours later.)  The police claim, however, that they were unable to identify the other three girls - and they therefore remain in prison.

In protest of this apparent violation of the spirit of the law by the authorities, yet another demonstration was held outside the N'vei Tirtzah women's prison on Saturday night.  The girls have been held in the maximum-security prison in Ramle because they refused to identify themselves or otherwise cooperate with the legal system that they say wishes to prevent Jews from living in Judea and Samaria.

The girls' parents and the Honenu civil-rights organization demand that Justice Solberg's ruling be carried out in full. They say that police and the Prison Service are ignoring the ruling merely because Justice Solberg himself is a "settler," i.e., a resident of Judea and Samaria.  "There is no other explanation for the fact that the authorities refuse to accept the ruling of a District Court judge," Honenu said in a statement, "and prefer to cruelly harass young girls and their parents."

The girls were arrested over three weeks ago while participating in the attempt to build a Jewish outpost in Givat HaOr, just outside the entrance to Beit El in Binyamin, north of Jerusalem.

One of the girls in question is no longer a minor, having recently turned 18, and has been in prison for some two months.  She was arrested on similar charges of trying to assert Jews' rights to live in the Biblical areas of Judea and Samaria.

Some 50 people took part in the Saturday night protest, including some of the girls who had been freed from prison the day before.  One protestor was arrested, but was released an hour later. 

Atty. Adi Keidar, head of Honenu's legal department, criticized the legal system and especially the police for keeping the young girls in jail.  "On Friday," Keidar said, "a legal hearing was held in their case without them being represented at all. This is another aspect of the case that is reminiscent of dark regimes."

Keidar said he does not know when another hearing will be held for the three girls who remain in prison.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) congratulated the freed girls for their "moral victory against the wickedness of the police and the government... Fourteen-year-old girls demonstrated to the public what civil disobedience is and how it can be used to change immoral and anti-Zionist decisions that are destructive for Israel."