House arrest for Jewish minors held over killing of Palestinian

Palestinians carry the body of 48-year-old mother of eight, Aisha Rabi, who died of her wounds after the car she was travelling in with her husband was hit by stones, during her funeral in the West Bank village of Bidya, near Salfit. (AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019
0

House arrest for Jewish minors held over killing of Palestinian

  • Authorities did not confirm their detention until Sunday due to a gag order on details of the case while the investigation continued
  • The remand of the fifth suspect has been extended by another six days

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Thursday released to house arrest four of five Jewish minors held on suspicion of involvement in a fatal stone-throwing attack on a Palestinian woman, lawyers and officials said.
The arrests on December 30 were in connection with the killing of Aisha Rabi, who died after stones were thrown at the car she was traveling in with her family in the occupied West Bank on October 12.
Authorities did not confirm their detention until Sunday due to a gag order on details of the case while the investigation continued.
The remand of the fifth suspect has been extended by another six days, Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet said.
The lawyers representing the minors argued that their release proved they were innocent.
“These youths, who had absolutely nothing to do with the event, should not have been arrested,” said attorney Adi Kedar of Honenu, a right-wing legal aid organization, vowing to work to have the fifth suspect released.
The Shin Bet, which on Sunday announced an unspecified number of arrests for “serious terrorist offenses, including murder,” rejected claims the youths were mistreated during their investigation.
The five, students at the Pri Haaretz religious seminary in the Rechelim settlement in the West Bank, were arrested “after intelligence efforts connecting them to the death of Rabi,” a mother of nine, the Shin Bet said Thursday.
The Shin Bet noted the four were released after it was decided “the investigation could continue while they were under house arrest and other limiting conditions.”
It also warned of “ongoing efforts” to obstruct the course of the investigation, “including by disseminating information about the probe while slandering the Shin Bet.”
The fatal stoning took place near Rechelim, close to Rabi’s village of Bidiya in the Israeli-occupied northern West Bank.
Rabi was struck on the head in the attack and died later at a hospital in the city of Nablus. Her husband, who was driving the car at the time, escaped with minor injuries.
Palestinian witnesses and security sources cited by official Palestinian news agency WAFA said the stones were thrown by Israeli settlers.
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.


Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

Updated 21 March 2019
0

Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

  • Turkish president has threatened to "send home in coffins" visitors from Australia, New Zealand
  • Aussie and NZ leaders want Turkey to explain the "vile" and "offensive" remarks

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned on Wednesday for “vile, offensive and reckless” comments after last week’s Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks.

Australia summoned the Turkish ambassador in Canberra to explain the remarks, and New Zealand dispatched its foreign minister to Ankara to “set the record straight, face to face.”

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after he shot dead 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Erdogan, in election campaign rallies for his AK Party, urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty and said Turkey would make the killer pay if New Zealand did not.

He said anti-Muslim Australians who came to Turkey would be “sent back in coffins, like their grandfathers at Gallipoli,” and he accused Australian and New Zealand forces of invading Turkey during the First World War “because it is Muslim land.”

But an international affairs scholar in Riyadh said Erdogan’s comments should not be taken as representative of Muslims. 

"He is a propagandist and an unpredictable politician,” Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “He keeps saying these things and then he issues an apology. Right now, he is making these incendiary comments to win elections.”

It was inappropriate behavior for a head of state, Al-Shehri said. “Which president would use such language and issue these kind of comments?”

In his speech, Erdogan said that the Gallipoli peninsula campaign in 1915 was in fact an attempt by British colonial forces to relieve their Russian allies. The attack was a military disaster, and more than 11,000 Australian and New Zealand forces were killed. Thousands of people from both countries travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services, and the anniversary is marked on Anzac Day every April 25.

“Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after summoning the Turkish ambassador and dismissing the “excuses” offered.

“I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn.” Morrison described claims about Australia and New Zealand’s response to the white supremacist attack as “vile.” He accused Erdogan of betraying the promise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to forge peace between the two countries.

A memorial at Gallipoli carries Ataturk’s words: “There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets ... after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

“Ataturk sought to transform his country into a modern nation and an embracing nation, and I think these comments are at odds with that spirit,” Morrison said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her deputy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters, would travel to Turkey to seek clarification of Erdogan’s comments. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face,” she said.