Israeli police get right to hold Palestinian assailants’ bodies

Israeli border police can be seen in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Israeli police get right to hold Palestinian assailants’ bodies

JERUSALEM: Israeli lawmakers have passed a controversial bill allowing police to hold the corpses of alleged Palestinian assailants indefinitely, parliament said on Thursday.
The act was passed late Wednesday by 48 votes to 10, a Knesset statement said, hours after another measure permitting the interior minister to strip Palestinians in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem of their permanent residency permits “if they are involved in terrorism.”
The government announced in 2016 that it would not release for burial the bodies of Palestinian assailants killed during attacks unless Palestinians in Gaza released the remains of two Israeli soldiers believed to have been killed in a 2014 war in Gaza.
In November 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled that Israel would not repatriate the bodies of five militants killed when the army blew up a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into its territory.
The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in December that the policy was illegal under current law, but it gave the government six months to enact new legislation.
The revised act gives authority to police district commanders “to set conditions for returning the body of a terrorist for family burial,” the Knesset statement said.
If the commander decides that a funeral may spark another attack or turn into a political rally in support of violence he can impose limits on the time, location and number of mourners and “a body could be held until the family agrees to the terms,” the statement adds.
The bill was sponsored by two MPs from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and the religious-nationalist Jewish Home.
Arab MP Yousef Jabareen, of the opposition Joint List party, said it was “a delusional and draconian law of a delusional government.”
It applies only to Israel and east Jerusalem, where the police have authority, and not to the occupied West Bank, which is under army rule.
The legislation on revoking permanent residency permits, proposed by a Likud MP, passed by 48 votes to 18, the Knesset said.
Israel seized control of Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
It later annexed the territory, in a move never recognized by the international community, and today it is home to about 300,000 Palestinians.
Although they have the right to apply for Israeli citizenship few take up the offer and of those many are refused, often on unspecified “security grounds.”
The vast majority opt for permanent residency status, which gives them free movement throughout Israel, access to health and welfare services and a vote in Jerusalem municipal elections.
They cannot vote in parliamentary elections and they do not hold Israeli passports.


Egypt probes images of naked couple atop pyramid

Updated 11 December 2018
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Egypt probes images of naked couple atop pyramid

  • Danish photographer Andreas Hvid appears to scale the 4,500-year-old tomb on the outskirts of Cairo at night with an unidentified woman who is later seen taking off her top

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities have launched an investigation into images said to show a naked couple who scaled the Great Pyramid that has sparked outrage in the conservative Muslim country, an official said Tuesday.
In a video titled “Climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza,” Danish photographer Andreas Hvid appears to scale the 4,500-year-old tomb on the outskirts of Cairo at night with an unidentified woman who is later seen taking off her top.
Hvid says the video was taken in late November but it was published on YouTube on December 8.
A photograph released by Hvid appears to show the couple completely naked on top of each other while looking in the direction of a nearby pyramid with the horizon illuminated.
“The public prosecution is investigating the incident of the Danish photographer and the authenticity of the photos and video of him climbing the pyramid,” Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt’s supreme antiquities council, told AFP.
If the video was actually filmed at the top of the pyramid, that would make it a “very serious crime,” Waziri said.
The nearly three-minute video has taken social media by storm and has been the subject of late night talk shows. It has notched up almost three million views on YouTube alone.
“A 7,000-year-old civilization has turned into a bed sheet,” a Twitter user in Egypt lamented.
Another protested that “they want to soil the dignity and pride of Egyptians because the pyramid reflects the glory and grandeur of the Egyptian people.”
The authenticity of the images has been disputed with some arguing the photograph showing the pair naked appears to be very bright whereas the video showed them scaling the pyramid at night.
Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told government newspaper Al-Ahram that the video has stirred “anger and outrage among Egyptians,” and that officials in charge of guarding the pyramids would be punished if found to have been negligent.
Hvid, 23, explained back home to the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that he had “dreamed for many years of climbing the Great Pyramid” as well as of taking a naked photograph.
“I’m sad that so many people have got angry but I’ve also received a lot of positive responses from many Egyptians,” he said in an interview.
The young Norwegian, who runs his own YouTube channel, said he had absolutely no interest in stirring up a crisis such as that triggered by cartoons in Western newspapers of the Prophet Muhammad.
As for the girl in the video, she was not his girlfriend. “It was just a pose. We did not have sexual relations,” Hvid said.
The Great Pyramid, also known as the Khufu pyramid, is the largest in Giza, standing at 146 meters (480 feet) tall, and the only surviving structure of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
Climbing pyramids is forbidden in Egypt.
In 2016, a German tourist was barred from entering the country for life after he posted online footage of climbing one of the ancient structures.