Two suspects released in stone-stabbing attack on Palestinians in the West Bank
Two Jewish suspects arrested in a stabbing attack on a Palestinian village in the southern West Bank earlier this week that left more than a dozen injured were released on Friday.
The two, an adult and a minor, arrested Thursday, were the fifth and sixth suspects questioned about their alleged involvement in Tuesday’s attack.
But on Friday morning, they were released without restriction by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
“The request for detention against them was uncomfortable,” Judge Havi Tucker said according to Kan News. She added that it was likely that they were arrested for their “appearance”.
Nati Rom of the Honenu legal aid organization, representing the detainees, said that “the court once again confirms what we said, that these are bogus arrests, purely on their appearance”. He also accused the police of failing to investigate stone-throwing crimes committed by âleft anarchist groupsâ and Palestinians.
Another minor, accused of assaulting soldiers but not participating in the attack on Palestinians, had his pre-trial detention extended until Sunday.
On Tuesday afternoon, dozens of masked Israelis threw stones at Palestinians in the hills of southern Hebron. The stones smashed cars and injured at least 12 Palestinians, including a three-year-old child, Palestinian and Israeli witnesses said.
Some Palestinians also threw stones at the settlers, sparking clashes between the two sides, witnesses said. Three Israelis were also injured, according to Hebrew media.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the incident terrorism and called for justice.
“This violent incident is horrific and it is terror,” Lapid tweeted Wednesday evening. âThis is not the Israeli way and it is not the Jewish way. They are a violent and dangerous fringe and we have a responsibility to bring them to justice. “
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In videos of the scene, Israeli settlers can be seen smashing the windows of Palestinian cars and throwing stones at Palestinian homes. The clashes took place near the small Palestinian herding village of al-Mufaqara, a cluster of houses that straddles two illegal Israeli outposts in the West Bank, Avigayil and Havat Maon.
The United States, the European Union and the United Nations have condemned the violence, which the United Nations has called an “attack on Palestinian civilians.”
âThe settler attacks against the Palestinians must stop. Israel, as the occupying power, must guarantee public order and the well-being of the occupied population as well as promptly investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of such attacks, âsaid the EU representative office to the Palestinians in a press release.
Settler assaults and vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank are commonly referred to as âprice tagâ attacks. The authors say it is retaliation against Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.
Israeli authorities rarely stop the Jewish perpetrators of such attacks, making arrests on Wednesday and Thursday an unusual step. Rights groups lament, however, that convictions are even more unusual than arrests, and the vast majority of charges against these attacks are dropped.
On Tuesday, a Palestinian and an Israeli settler were arrested by Israeli police. According to a police spokesperson, the Palestinian is suspected of assaulting a soldier and violating a military order. The Israeli, a resident of Havat Maon, allegedly threw stones and disobeyed the soldiers’ instructions, the spokesperson said.
Palestinian witnesses said the Israeli army fired tear gas and stun grenades at them, but not at the settlers. The military refused to respond to the allegations.
The injured toddler, Mohammad Bakr Hussein, was reportedly hit on the head by a stone thrown by a settler while sleeping in his al-Mufaqara home. Hussein was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva in moderate condition, a hospital spokesperson said.