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
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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.

 

 


Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

Updated 24 min 12 sec ago
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Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

  • Heads of state, officials from EU and Arab League member countries to attend summit today
  • Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries

CAIRO: Egypt on Sunday will host heads of state, government officials and representatives from EU and Arab League member countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Bahrain’s King Hamad.

Refugees and illegal immigration will top the agenda amid the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Syrians constitute the largest refugee population in Europe, followed by Eritreans then Afghans. 

According to unofficial statistics, Syrians are also the largest refugee population in the Arab world, followed by Yemenis, Libyans and Sudanese.

Hossam El-Khouli, secretary-general of the Egyptian Nation’s Future Party, said: “The EU … should call for the repatriation of refugees if conditions are appropriate.”

He said: “As for the right of asylum … a number of countries have granted asylum to criminals who have committed violent crimes against their own people and homelands.”

Summit participants intend to debate the necessity of combating this kind of migration, especially given its impact on the security and economy of many countries. 

Margaret Azer, an Egyptian lawmaker, said a country’s economic conditions are one of the main drivers of illegal immigration. 

“The decline of political conditions in several countries is (also) contributing to the rise in numbers of people seeking illegal immigration,” she told Arab News. 

“For example, we see that the biggest percentage of immigrants in Europe are from countries like Syria and Libya. The reason could also be religious or sectarian persecution, as is the case in Myanmar.”

Frontex President Fabrice Leggeri said although the number of migrants arriving in Europe dropped to 150,114 in 2018 compared to 204,750 in 2017, the agency continues to support border controls by providing more workers and technology.