It was the moment he had been dreading his entire life. Maen Abu
Hafez, 24, and his friends car was stopped by Israeli soldiers at a
flying checkpoint on their way home from Tulkarem city to his
hometown, Jenin, in the northern occupied West Bank.
When the soldiers asked for their IDs which Palestinians must
carry on them at all times in case they are stopped at a checkpoint
Abu Hafez told them he didnt have one. Within a few hours he was at
an Israeli detention center.
Two days later, he was taken to the Givon Prison in central
Israel a prison that holds mostly undocumented asylum seekers from
Africa where he has been held for 20 months as an illegal alien,
while the Israeli government waits to deport him to Brazil.
Abu Hafez was born in Brazil to a Palestinian father, from the
Jenin Refugee Camp, and a Brazilian mother. His family of six moved
to the Jenin Camp when he was three years old, where he has lived
ever since. Neither he, his two brothers, nor his mother, have
Palestinian ID cards, giving them no legal status in the occupied
There is no proof that he has any legal status in Brazil and the
Brazilian authorities are, rightly, refusing to take in the young
man against his will, Israeli Human Rights Organization Hamoked,
who is handling Abu Hafezs case, said in an October press
Israel has held Maen in detention for the past 20 months in an
effort to pressure him to agree to his own deportation, the group
My father had never gotten registered for an ID, and because he
had been living out of the country for too long, the Israelis
refused to give him one, Maens brother Ghaith Abu Hafez, 30, told
So myself, Maen, our brother Mahmoud, and my mom, none of us
were able to get IDs, Ghaith said, adding that all of the familys
applications for residency rights have been denied.
My sister is the only who has a West Bank ID, which she got
after she married a Palestinian man with residency here, he said.
But when I got married to a Palestinian woman and attempted to file
for family reunification, I was denied.
Maen was just going for the day to visit Tulkarem with his
friends, he usually never leaves Jenin, none of us do. He knew the
risks but he just wanted to enjoy a day with his friends, Ghaith
And now he is facing deportation to a place he doesnt even know.
He has no family, no friends there, he doesnt even know the
language. We are devastated.
Stuck in bureaucratic limbo
In mid October, Hamoked filed an appeal against Abu Hafezs
detention, saying that Israeli authorities are punishing him for
their own failure to legalize his status.
Hamoked stated that...