On 16 October 2007 a Palestinian woman resident of East Jerusalem, who is married to a resident of the Gaza Strip and lives with him there, arrived at Erez Crossing and asked to renew the permit granted to her under the “divided families procedure.” According to this procedure, Israeli spouses are entitled to enter the Gaza Strip and stay there on the basis of permits that may be renewed through the "Israelis Office" in the District Coordination Office (DCO). The complainant fell ill and arrived late to renew her permit, but arranged her arrival in advance and assumed that the permit would be renewed immediately and she would be able to return to her children, husband, and family. The Israel Police had other plans for her.
Four police officers approached her after she reached the Israeli side of the crossing. One of them asked her in Arabic why she had not renewed her permit on time. After a conversation lasting some five minutes, the police officer made the complainant sign a document in Hebrew, without translation, despite the fact that he knew she had little knowledge of the language.
The police officers led the complainant to a police car without explaining their actions and drove to the police station in Sderot. At the station she was taken into a small room, and a female police officer began to interrogate her in Hebrew. She explained to the police officer using sign language and broken Hebrew that she could not understand, but the interrogator continued to fire questions at her in Hebrew. At the end of the “interrogation” the complainant was asked to sign a document, after she had already made it clear that she cannot read or write Hebrew. The police officer did not go to the trouble of explaining the content on the page orally. The complainant signed the document, hoping that this would put an end to the interrogation and that she would be able to return home as soon as possible.
The interrogation ended and the police officer informed the complainant that she was free to go. Since she was sure that the police would take her back to the checkpoint, she waited in the corridors of the station. After about fifteen minutes she approached the reception desk and asked when she would be taken back. The receptionist told her that they did not intend to do anything, and that she must leave the station area. Thus she found herself wondering through the town of Sderot with just a few shekels in her pocket. She somehow managed to find her way to HaMoked’s offices in Jerusalem. Over the following two weeks she was forced to rely on the hospitality of distant relatives until, with HaMoked’s assistance, she was eventually allowed to return to her home in the Gaza Strip.
The description of the events leaves no doubt as to the shameful behavior of Sderot police. Apart from the glaring humanitarian aspects of its behavior, Sderot police also acted in a manner contrary to the regulations by undertaking an interrogation in a language other than that of the interrogee, and by failing to document the interrogation as required. HaMoked has asked to receive all the documents the complainant signed and has demanded that an investigation be instigated into the violations of the Criminal Law Proceedings Regulations (Interrogation of Suspects).