Palestinians Wait in Vain for Taken ID's

Four young Palestinians from the Nablus area, who were caught trying to reach Jerusalem illegally from Ramallah recently, waited in vain for the Border Police to return their identity cards.

Border policemen confiscated the Palestinians' identity cards at 8 A.M. on October 18. Ten hours later, they were still waiting at the Qalandiyah roadblock to get them back, Machsom Watch activists reported.

Members of Machsom Watch say this is not the first time soldiers and border policemen have confiscated Palestinians' identity papers and then lost them. In response, both the IDF and the police accuse the Palestinians of losing their cards and then blaming the army.

Without an identity card - or alternative papers - every Palestinian is in a dangerous and complicated situation.

The four Palestinians told Machsom Watch that border policemen had caught them without entrance permits in the Atarot industrial area, near Jerusalem. The policemen confiscated their IDs, and told them to go to Qalandiyah checkpoint to get them back. The four wrote down the license-plate number of the policemen's jeep, and set off for Qalandiyah immediately. There, however, nobody knew where their ID cards were. It was only after 6 P.M., that someone began asking questions and looking for their cards.

A border policeman told the volunteers that Palestinians were always losing their ID cards and then blaming the IDF. The volunteers insisted on seeing the officer in charge, who traced the jeep driver with the help of its license number. The driver was ordered to come to Qalandiyah immediately with the ID cards.

However, when he arrived, he brought the ID cards of four women from Kibiya village.

The officer continued searching for the cards and at about 8 P.M. a border policeman brought them. He said the four Palestinians had fled instead of waiting for the first policeman to finish checking their cards, and so he ended up taking the documents home.