Syrian infiltrator: Hassan Hijazi
Photo: Ben Kelmer

Syrian infiltrator awaits remand ruling

As two Syrian infiltrators apprehended during 'Nakba Day' protests near Majdal Shams return to Syria, Hassan Hijazi, who managed to reach Tel Aviv before surrendering to police, is set to be charged with staying in Israel illegally

Police are set to request Tuesday that the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court remand Hassan Hijazi, the Syrian national who infiltrated Israel during the "Nakba Day" protests Sunday and made his way to Tel Aviv. Hijazi, 28, who handed himself over to police in Tel Aviv Monday is set to be charged with illegal infiltration.


Meanwhile, two Syrians who infiltrated Israel through the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights were returned to Syria. The IDF coordinated their return through the Red Cross.


Hijazi, a clerk in Syria's Education Ministry claimed that he was aided in his efforts by left wing activists who drove him from the Golan Heights to Tel Aviv. Before surrendering himself to the police Monday Hijazi told the media that he didn't wish to go back to his homeland.


Hijazi said he was not scared of the police, claiming that despite US and Israeli allegations, the protest at the border was not organized by Syrian President Bashar Assad as an attempt to divert attention from the domestic crackdown against anti-regime protesters.


Asked what he thinks of Israel, Hijazi presented his identification cards and said: "This is not Israel, this is Palestine – this is my land."


'Want to stay here'

Upon arrival at the police station, Hijazi signaled 'V' with his fingers to the reporters waiting for him at the entrance. "This country has to be non-Jewish, it needs to be for Jews and also for all the Muslims, so we need this country to be large," he said.


"I don't want to go back to Syria," Hijazi added, "I want to stay here in my village, where my father and grandfather were born.


"But Syria is a good country for Palestinians and I don’t know what the Israeli government would do to us. I want to stay here and bring my family here," he noted.


When asked what he thought of President Assad, who has ordered a violent crackdown against anti-regime protesters, Hijazi said solemnly, "He is a good president."


During his conversation with reporters, two police officers arrived and escorted him into the station. "You entered Israel illegally, you are illegally here and therefore you are being detained in the station," one of the officers explained to Hijazi in English.


In an earlier interview with Channel 10, Hijazi recounted how he made his way from the northern border to central Israel. "I saw some peace activists, one Jew and a few French Arabs, and I told them – I want to go with you – because my dream is to reach Jaffa, the city where I am from."


Hagai Einav contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 05.17.11, 11:28
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