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Throwing the book at Tali Fahima
[This description of witch hunt is bad enough. Imagine what is happening to thousands of Palestinian prisoners, who do not have the benefit of individual coverage by Haaretz.]
Throwing the book at Tali Fahima
By Orit Shohat, Haaretz
Four months ago, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided to place Tali Fahima in administrative detention (arrest without trial). The descriptions of the danger she posed to the public were extremely impressive. "I am familiar with all her deeds and exploits," Mofaz said. "She was involved and took part in planning a terrorist attack in Israel." Judge Uri Goren, who authorized her arrest without being charged, said: "I have reached the conclusion that Tali Fahima is determined to perpetrate a terrorist attack against Israeli targets and to obtain combat material from Palestinian terror activists." It was then reported that she was linked to the bomb that went off at the Qalandiyah checkpoint. The state attorney contributed to the creation of Fahima`s terrorist image when he said, "The secret material that was shown to me revealed a grave and immediate danger to human life."
Fahima was indicted this week and the charge sheet does not contain any mention of those accusations. It turns out that she did not engage in terrorism, did not transfer combat material and did not plan a terrorist attack - and no one is claiming any longer that she endangered human life. But, instead of asking her pardon and sending her home, the state has mobilized to fill the overinflated balloon a little more. Not only was Fahima remanded again, but the less serious the suspicions became, the graver the counts in the indictment. Fahima is going to be tried for the most serious charges on the books, which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Tali Fahima`s story is far from conventional. A year and a half ago, she read an interview with Zakariya Zubeidi, the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs` Brigades in Jenin, in which Zubeidi related how he had gone from being a peace activist to a terrorist. When Fahima, 28, discovered that Zubeidi was at the top of the Israeli army`s list of assassination targets, she decided to go to Jenin, live in his house and act as a human shield. Since then, she has become almost part of the Zubeidi household and the two of them have become media stars.
In her naive and impulsive way, Fahima became the most authentic opponent of the liquidation policy. It is probably precisely because she was not known in the left, precisely because she was a Likud voter, had served as a noncom for service conditions in the Armored Corps and was a resident of Kiryat Gat that she riled a lot of people and also became a convenient conduit to vent frustrations. The state is accusing her of torpedoing an Israel Defense Forces operation to arrest wanted individuals in Jenin. When the charge is taken apart, it emerges that on May 18, during an army operation in Jenin, one of the soldiers lost an aerial photograph showing the homes of the wanted individuals in the city. The map found its way to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs` Brigades. Instead of trying the careless soldier, it was decided to accuse Fahima of thwarting the mission.
According to the indictment, Fahima, who was in Zubeidi`s house at the time of the operation, "explained" to him and his friends what the document said. By the way, three days later, the mass-circulation daily Yedioth Ahronoth published a front-page photograph showing Zubeidi holding the map - a stinging affront to the IDF.
Fahima is charged with assisting a terrorist organization, giving information to the enemy and aiding the enemy in wartime. If she goes to jail, even for a short time, she will become a new version of Abie Nathan, who was incarcerated for a year in the wake of a prohibited meeting with Palestinians. The authorities could throw hundreds of Israelis into jail for meeting with Palestinians during the period of the intifada, charged with aiding the enemy. The first candidate is the journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery, who acted as a human shield for Yasser Arafat.
After the judges showed regrettable helplessness by authorizing the unnecessary administrative detention for four months, we can now hope that they will not fall asleep on their watch during the stage of clarifying the evidence and will not be frightened even if the prosecution shows photographs taken by a drone of Fahima boiling water for coffee in Zubeidi`s kitchen. That, too, is aiding a terrorist organization.
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