Palestinian worshiper cleared of disobeying soldiers’ order to stop

A Palestinian man who refused IDF soldiers’ orders to stop while on the way to prayer services and was later arrested at his home was acquitted Monday by a military court in the West Bank. Hader Alomar of Munzar, in the Hebron region, was walking to afternoon Ramadan prayers in August 2012 when he encountered soldiers who had set up a makeshift checkpoint upon discovering what they thought were stolen vehicles. They told Alomar to stop, but he refused and continued to the mosque. Alomar’s attorney, Neri Ramati, argued that Alomar had not understood the instructions. The judge agreed. Moreover, he said, the soldiers’ failure to arrest Alomar on the spot showed they did not view the incident as significant. ‏(Chaim Levinson‏)

Turkish PM: Protests delayed my Gaza visit

Turkey’s prime minister said Tuesday that a wave of demonstrations at home have delayed his planned visit to Gaza. But Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted he still meant to make the visit and could “make a surprise any time.” Erdogan has long said he wants to visit Gaza, despite concerns by the United States that this could strengthen Hamas, which controls Gaza, and harm Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Washington also fears the visit could undo a truce it brokered between Israel and Turkey earlier this year. “Gaza is ready,” Erdogan said. “We could not be ready because of the [protests].” Turkey has suffered weeks of anti-government demonstrations triggered by a police clampdown on peaceful demonstrators. ‏(AP‏)