Israel arrests Jewish students over Palestinian woman’s death

Israeli border police watch as Palestinian young girls walk on a street in Abu Dis, on the outskirts of east Jerusalem. (AFP)
Updated 06 January 2019

Israel arrests Jewish students over Palestinian woman’s death

  • There was also a protest of several hundred people on Saturday night outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence over the detention of the Jewish minors

JERUSALEM: Israel has arrested five Jewish seminary students in the occupied West Bank in connection with a fatal rock attack on a Palestinian car that killed a woman, the Israeli domestic intelligence service said on Sunday.

The arrests had led to mounting speculation in the Israeli media, but authorities had refused to comment, citing a gag order on details of the case while the investigation continued.

There was also a protest of several hundred people on Saturday night outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence over the detention of the Jewish minors.

A number of suspects had been arrested on Dec. 30, more than two months after Aisha Al-Rabi was killed on Oct. 12, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said in a statement after a court order limiting media coverage of the Dec. 30 arrests was lifted.

“The suspects were arrested for serious terrorist offenses, including murder,” the Shin Bet statement said. 

It added that the stoning took place near the Jewish settlement of Rechalim, close to Rabi’s village of Bidiya in the Israeli-occupied northern West Bank.

A mother of nine, Rabi, 47, suffered a fatal head wound from a rock thrown at her car near the Palestinian city of Nablus on Oct. 12 and died later at a hospital in the city, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported at the time.

Her husband, who was driving the car at the time, escaped with minor injuries, WAFA said.

Palestinian witnesses and security sources cited by the news agency said the stones were thrown by Israeli settlers.

The Shin Bet did not give the number or ages of suspects held, but said they were members of a Jewish seminary in Rechalim.

Their parents and lawyers have been protesting since the arrests over what they said was their sons’ detention in an undisclosed location without access to lawyers.

Israeli investigations into “Jewish terrorism” — as such cases are often referred to by Israeli media — are highly sensitive.

Israeli authorities have been accused by rights activists of dragging their feet in such cases in comparison to investigations into Palestinian attacks, while far-right Israelis say suspects have undergone coercement and torture.

The Shin Bet said the five detainees, who it did not name, attend a seminary in Rehelim, a neighboring Jewish settlement. They are all under the age of 18 and have not been formally charged.

The Shin Bet said in its statement the detainees had been questioned in accordance with the law.



Israeli fire wounds 14 as thousands of Palestinians protest at Gaza border

Updated 5 min 12 sec ago

Israeli fire wounds 14 as thousands of Palestinians protest at Gaza border

GAZA CITY: Thousands of Palestinians have gathered for a weekly protest along the fence between Gaza and Israel.
The Palestinian Health Ministry says that Israeli gunfire wounded 14 Palestinians and that three medics suffered from a barrage of tear gas that targeted their ambulance.
The protest appeared subdued compared to last week’s violence, in which one woman was killed and more than two dozen Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were wounded, prompting retaliatory Israeli air strikes.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel would decide whether to allow the latest delivery of economic aid from Qatar to flow into Gaza based on the level of escalation Friday.
Israel has been allowing Qatar to transfer batches of $15 million in aid, intended for the salaries of Gaza’s civil servants, directly to Hamas since November. But the shipment was delayed earlier this month after a rocket was fired from Gaza that caused no casualties but threatened to spike tensions between the bitter enemies.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers have orchestrated the weekly protests, in part to call for the lifting of a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade imposed when the group seized power in 2007. The blockade has devastated the local economy in Gaza, where unemployment exceeds 50 percent.
Israeli forces have killed more than 185 Palestinians and wounded thousands since the demonstrations began last spring. An Israeli soldier was killed in July.
Earlier Friday, Israeli forces demolished the family home of a Palestinian charged with fatally stabbing an American-Israeli settler several months ago.
Israeli soldiers surrounded Khalil Jabarin’s home in the southern West Bank village of Yatta and destroyed the apartment with explosives after his family cleared out.
Jabarin, 17, was accused of killing the US-born settler activist Ari Fuld at a mall near a West Bank settlement in September. Footage showed Fuld firing at his attacker before collapsing.
The military says dozens of Palestinians protesting the demolition hurled rocks toward the forces, who responded with “riot dispersal means,” which usually refers to rubber-tipped bullets and tear gas.
While Israel claims home demolitions serve as a deterrent to potential attackers, critics say the tactic amounts to collective punishment that inflames hostility.