Two Israeli civilians took a wrong turn on their way to Maaleh Amos in the Yehudah region, where they unexpectedly found themselves in the hands of Palestinian Authority police, who subjected them to a frightening interrogation and a hefty “fine” before letting them go.
The two closet installers were stopped by local PA officers who arrested them for the offense of passing through a “foreign country” without permission.
“We thought this was the end,” Danny, one of the installers, told Arutz Sheva afterwards.
He and his driver, Boris, were taken to an office in what appeared to be an abandoned building. Attempts to explain their peaceful intentions proved futile.
Soon the two policemen who had arrested them were joined by about a dozen others. Questions were put to them about whether they were Jewish, and whether they were in the army.
“One asked if I’m a soldier. I said no. He asked if I once was a soldier and I said yes. He then asked where we were going to, and if I was undercover. He asked for our ID cards.”
Danny didn’t have his ID card with him, but only a membership card from the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party. He handed them the card and the Palestinians examined it Somehow, they didn’t realize the contradiction between their claim that they were non-Jewish workers from Russia (they both spoke Russian) and his membership in the party, which is made up largely of Russian Jews not much enamored of Arabs.
To add to their fears, “a guy came in and made hand gestures showing he wanted to shoot me in the head. Another guy told him ‘leave it’,” Danny recounted. The two thought they were in immediate danger of being lynched.
B’chasdei Hashem, the ordeal ended after two hours when the Palestinians finally satisfied themselves with a demand for a “customs tax” of 850 shekels, which they were paid, and then released their two detainees.
Danny asked why there weren’t there clear signs on the road warning drivers that they were about to enter a Palestinian-controlled area? Why weren’t Israeli border policemen there to prevent them from going through the village?
“G-d wanted to send us a message, but what happens with other people, tourists who don’t know the area?” Danny asked.
The Civil Administration office responded to inquiries regarding the incident with their own version, saying: “This was an incident where two Israelis mistakenly entered area A, whereupon the Palestinian security authorities rescued them and safely returned them to Israeli security forces.”
Regarding the money extorted from them, the Civil Administration said “the matter of the customs tax is inappropriate and a complaint regarding this matter has been sent to the Palestinian customs police.”
The CA spokesman told Arutz Sheva that any further investigation is a matter for police. However, the Israeli police denied any knowledge of the incident.