Israel Indicts Palestinian, Refuses to Let Him Enter, Then Falsely Arrests Him

The legal proceedings have been underway for about two years and the man did not appear for hearings because his requests for an entry permit were rejected three times, lawyer says

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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An arrest by the Israeli Police. This photo is not related to the article.
An arrest by the Israeli Police. This photo is not related to the article. Credit: Nir Keidar
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

A Palestinian who had been put on trial for entering Israel without a permit couldn't appear before the court because Israel has refused to issue him an entry pass.

Majed Karshan, a resident of the West Bank town of Anata, was indicted in 2019 for entering Israel without a permit, impersonation and interference with a police officer’s duties.

His hearing in a Jerusalem court was scheduled for September of that year and Karshan requested an entry permit into Israel. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, however, denied his request because he filled it too late.

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A new hearing was set, this time for December. But Karshan was denied a permit again with the explanation that he submitted it too early. Two other hearings, which were set for March and June 2020, were postponed because of coronavirus restrictions. His lawyer, Riad Sawa'ed, said that another request for a hearing scheduled for October of that year was also denied.

At this point, the court suspended the proceedings against Karshan merely because he was not being allowed to enter Israel.

Police prosecutors, however, summoned Karshan for a hearing even though no one has filled a request to renew the legal proceedings against him. Although Yehuda Balaban, his attorney in this case, made sure the court was informed of this situation, the hearing was held without Karshan or his lawyer and the judge issued an arrest warrant for Karshan.

Later that day, after the judge had noticed Balaban’s request, he revoked the warrant and ordered the prosecution to ensure that the police system is updated to prevent a false arrest.

In spite of the judge’s order, a warrant against Karshan was issued in February. He was arrested and detained for one day. When he was brought to court for a hearing to extend his detention, Judge Michal Sharvit released him and criticized the authorities on the matter.

Last month, after the police had issued another warrant against Karshan, Judge Gabai Richter noted that the prosecution had not submitted a request to renew the proceedings, revoked the warrant and apologized to Karshan. The judge described the process of receiving entry permits as “harassment” and unacceptable. However, he did rule that the renewal of proceedings would remain in force.

Sawa'ed believes that the prosecution and the police deliberately did not update the system. “This is unacceptable behavior,” he added.

The Coordinator of Government Activities said the matter would be investigated and the rules would be amended if necessary.

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