Friday, May 24, 2002

Back to the USSR

Back to the USSR
May 24, 2002 

On Sunday it will be four weeks since several men were arrested for belonging to the new “Jewish Oslo Terrorist Underground.” So far, no charges have been pressed. Some of the men are from the Bat-Ayin community just south of Jerusalem. One man is from Hebron and another from the Maon farm, just south of Hebron.

As of this writing it is very unclear, what exactly, if anything, these men perpetrated. A number of question marks have been raised, including a most vital issue: are any of these men actually guilty of planning terror attacks against Arabs, or, are they the victims of another Avishai Raviv type plot, with Israeli intelligence baiting innocent citizens in order to begin a smear campaign against the Israeli right.

The latter may sound, to the unaccustomed ear, a bit exaggerated. After all, Ariel Sharon, not Yitzhak Rabin or Shimon Peres is Prime Minister. Sharon would never allow such a disgrace to stain his office. Or would he?

The following account is true. Please keep that in mind.

One of the men arrested is Shlomi Dvir, aged 27 from Bat Ayin, father of three small children, husband of 26 year old Etti. Since his arrest, almost four weeks ago, Shlomi Dvir has been interrogated twice for periods of 60 – yes – SIXTY hours, straight, without a break, with food, without anything. He has been held in solitary confinement, in a cell containing a hole in the floor for sanitary needs. It is in this disgustingly filthy, smelly cell, that Shlomi must pray.

For some time following his arrest, Shlomi was not allowed to meet anyone, including his lawyer. Finally, he was allowed to meet his attorney. However, he is forbidden from seeing his wife or children, at least in person. More in a minute.

Yesterday, at 2:30 in the afternoon, police cars arrived outside the Dvir home in Bat Ayin and in marched the forces. Etti Dvir, Shlomi’s wife, was home alone with her three small children, the oldest of whom is three and a half . Suddenly, she found herself under arrest, being dragged from her house into an awaiting police vehicle. She was allowed to take her baby, Tamah, aged 8 months, but the other two children were left alone, witness to their mother being taken away.

Etti and Tamah were taken to the Israeli intelligence compound in Jerusalem, next to the jail where Shlomi is being held. There, Tamah was forcibly taken from Etti and held in a room next door, screaming uncontrollably for two hours, until she was finally returned to her mother.

Once alone in the room, Etti was handcuffed to a chair and her interrogation began. Do you know … this person, that person, etc. etc. Etti, from the beginning, told the investigators, “I don’t know anything and reserve my right to silence.”
Two of the questioners, a woman named Erika and a man named Shmulik, began hitting her. Erika slapped Etti in the face a number of times and both pushed her. Then the threats began. “If you refuse to speak, you’ll spend a week in the Neve Tirza woman’s prison. Your baby will be taken to the Welfare office.”  This, despite the fact that Etti breast-feeds Tamah, who drinks no other milk.

This nightmare continued until 9:00 at night. Finally, the baby in her arms, Etti was told, “now you are going to jail.” She was taken out of her interrogation room, led outside, and suddenly, the investigators disappeared. Without a word, with a hint, she was released.

This morning, after Shlomi’s attorney met with him, he called Etti and told her, “yesterday, intelligence investigators brought pictures of you and Tamah to your husband, being held and interrogated.” In other words, the entire episode was used by the intelligence forces as a way to pressure Shomi into speaking and answering the interrogators questions.

Back in the USSR.

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