Four Israelis Suspected of Violent Attack on West Bank Village Released From Custody

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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Damage as seen a day after the attack in Khirbet al-Mufkara, Wednesday.
Damage as seen a day after the attack in Khirbet al-Mufkara, Wednesday.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Four Israelis suspected of taking part in an attack on Palestinians in a West Bank village were released by court order Friday, while the detention of a juvenile, who is suspected of assaulting an Israeli soldier in the clash, was extended until Sunday.

In the incident at Khirbet al-Mufkara in the South Hebron Hills on Tuesday, dozens of masked settlers threw stones at Palestinians, injuring 12 of them. Settlers also damaged water tanks and around 10 cars.

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Among the injured was a 3-year-old boy who suffered a head wound and was taken to an Israeli hospital in moderate condition.

In the clash, the Palestinians responded by throwing stones at the settlers, lightly injuring three of them. Israeli soldiers who arrived at the scene fired tear gas and stun grenades.

Two Israeli juveniles remain in detention, and an adult is under house arrest, also on suspicion of attacking a soldier. Two Palestinian suspects who were arrested the day of the incident were released that day.

“Again the court is giving its stamp of approval for what we have been saying are groundless arrests based solely on [the suspects’] characteristics. The district court is releasing another two suspects unconditionally,” said attorney Nati Rom of the right-wing legal aid group Honenu.

The father of the boy who was injured by stones thrown at his home, this week. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

“These are repeated provocations by left-wing anarchist organizations and minorities from the location who come every Friday and holiday eve, throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at the security forces and the residents.”

Of the four Israelis released Friday, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Chavi Toker released a juvenile and an adult who had been arrested Thursday. She said that from the outset the request to detain them stirred “discomfort,” adding that they had been arrested based solely on “their characteristics.”

At the Jerusalem District Court, Judge Tamar Bazak-Rapaport ordered the release of two brothers from Jerusalem, Yisrael and Yosef Haim Bloch. The two had been arrested Wednesday and were ordered to remain in detention until Monday.

An appeal against the arrest filed by the brothers’ attorney, Rom, was granted by Bazak-Rapaport, who wrote that she did not believe there was reasonable suspicion against the two “even at the low level required at this early stage of the investigation.”

At the hearing, police lawyer Adi Mizrachi Buaron said the two brothers were linked to the site of the attack but maintained their right to remain silent. Rom added that one of the two suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder due to an assault he suffered in the past.

Rom accused the Israel Police of failing to investigate people on the left and of admitting in court that they only deal with “Jews based on their characteristics.”

As he put it, “this selective enforcement has to be stopped immediately.”

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