HEBRON: Israeli Border Police lose out-of-town visitor's ID, then claim, "It's not my problem."

12 May 2007
HEBRON: Israeli Border Police lose out-of-town visitor's ID, then
claim "It is not my problem."

On Friday, 4 May 2007, the Ghabbash family of El-Azariyeh (biblical
Bethany--a suburb of Jerusalem) came to Hebron for a cousin's
pre-engagement party.

Since they are no longer able to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque because of the
wall separating them from Jerusalem, they decided to pray at the
Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Ammar Ghabbash, a man in his twenties, had
his ID taken at the mosque entrance--along with about thirty young to
middle-aged men--by Israeli Border Police, who told him that he could pick
it up after prayers.

CPTers John Lynes and Kathleen Kern, who were doing the team's routine
Friday noon mosque patrol, began talking with the young man's parents
and sisters who were standing in the shade after their prayers. One
sister told them that the border police were just sitting with the
collected IDs, not calling to check the numbers or doing anything
besides making the men wait. Eventually, the border police returned
the IDs, two hours after they confiscated them. Three men, including
Ammar Ghabbash, did not receive theirs. The Border Police said they
had lost them and the two young men had to wait. Not only did they
have to wait, the police ordered them to stand in the sun rather than
in the shade. John Lynes went to stand in the sun with them and
remained, despite the soldiers ordering him to stand away from the
young men.

The Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) began calling
the relevant authorities, and representatives of the Israeli District
Coordinating Office came to talk to the Border Police, but nothing
appeared to come from these efforts. The CPTers waited with the
family for more than three hours, but ultimately, when the family
explained yet again that they could not return to Azariyeh without the
ID (because they had to pass through an Israeli military checkpoint)
the Border Police Officer told them "It's not my problem."

Two young Israelis approached the family, asked about what was
happening and immediately became concerned with their dilemma. "He
can't go anywhere without his hawiya (ID)", the young Israeli man said
and began calling Israeli groups such as Machsoum (Checkpoint) Watch
to learn of options available to Ammar Ghabbash.

"The funny thing," one of the sisters told Kern, "Is my brother always
refuses to come with the family whenever we go anywhere--not just to
pray--anywhere. And now he says he will never come with us again."

Eventually the family left for the party and said they hoped that the
police could call in the young man's number in to the soldiers
staffing the checkpoint they had to pass through. Later that evening,
he called the team to tell them the police had given him a paper that
would get him through the checkpoint and thanked them for their


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