Activist Sentenced for Anti-wall Protest Tells Judge: Please Jail Me

A left-wing activist convicted of participation in an illegal protest against the separation fence yesterday asked the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court to sentence him to jail time, rather than community service or a suspended sentence. Despite his request, the court decided to issue him a three-month suspended sentence.

Jonathan Pollack, a central activist in the Anarchists Against the Fence movement, was convicted of participating in an illegal protest against the separation fence held in 2004 outside of the government compound in Tel Aviv.

Pollack said in his plea, "This trial - if it wasn't administered by a court of the occupation, in the only democracy in the world in which 3.5 million citizens are homeless - was supposed to be a trial of the [separation] wall, the same wall defined as a legal jail by the highest legal authority in the world, the same wall that serves as a political tool in the campaign of ethnic cleansing Israel is running in the occupied territories."

He later said that he was not surprised when the court found him guilty, but could not accept his punishment as legitimate and therefore will not cooperate with the probation board and does not plan to perform the community service duties imposed on him.

The prosecution in the case asked for a suspended sentence and a fine to be paid by the defendant. Judge Landman decided to sentence Pollack to a three-month suspended sentence. Should Pollack participate in an illegal gathering within the next two years, he will be imprisoned for three months.

Landman said, "It saddens me that a mature and articulate individual has come to the conclusion that the only way he can express his opinions is through the violation of the law, even if the law does not seem appropriate."