An appeal to the police was also in vain. The man was left without the only documentation allowing him to earn a living. Police admit that the security guard did not act according to protocol.
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Saliman Kadi, a Palestinian from the northern West Bank, left Tel Aviv on Monday to return to his home. Like many other Palestinians, he took the bus to Ariel, with the intent of getting off at the stop before the Jewish settlement.
However, when the bus neared Ariel the driver skipped the stop and proceeded towards the settlement. At the gate the driver informed the civillian security guards that there were Palestinians on the bus.
Entry Permit (Photo: Gadil Kabalo)
"When we got off the bus a female security guard asked to see our ID cards and entry permits," Kadi related. "I gave her mine and she went inside to verify the details. Soon she returned only with my ID card and told me I was free to go."
Kadi demanded his entry permit back, claiming the guard had no right to confiscate it, but to no avail. The guard continued to refuse and demanded that he leave.
Kadi refused to give up and turned to police officers stationed nearby. "After hearing my complaint, the policemen told me I was right, and that she had no right to withhold my permit. They requested that I wait there while they go to the gate and retrieve it for me."
The officers returned a few minutes later and informed Kadi that even though he was in the right, he had to go to the police station in Ariel to file a formal complaint. "I couldn’t understand why police officers, who had already accepted my claims, and were right there, could not demand my permit back from the security guard."
Between a rock and a hard place
Having phoned the Ariel police station, Kadi was told the matter would be investigated. In the meantime he was forced to wait more than five hours at the city gates for police to return his valid entry permit.
"Police said I needed to file a complaint, but I couldn’t enter Ariel to do so because Palestinians are barred from the city. I just cannot understand why the police did not deal directly with the security guard, simply asking her to give me my permit back".
After more than five hours Kadi gave up and left. "The permit is valid only for 17 more days, by the time I would have filed a complaint, and the police would have done something it would have been invalid."
The police said in response that the event began when three Palestinians fell asleep on the bus. Upon arrival in Ariel the three were taken off the bus and their papers taken from them for examination.
"Two were released and had their papers returned to them, while a third did not receive his work permit back and was referred to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories." It was further stated that the security guard failed to follow protocol and is currently being investigated and reprimanded by her superiors.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Itamar Fleishman contributed to this report