Two Right-wing Jewish Extremists Indicted for Bedouin Tent Arson

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Palestinians looking over the charred remains of the tent.Credit: Zakaria Sadeh from Rabbis for Human Rights

An indictment has been served against two right-wing Jewish extremists, one of whom is a minor, for an arson attack on a Bedouin tent in the West Bank in August. The Hebrew word for "revenge" was also spray-painted near the site of the attack. 

Three suspects, including two minors, were questioned over the incident. According to a gag order lifted Monday, Avi Gafni, 19, and one of the minors were indicted on charges of incitement, threats, conspiring to commit a felony, and perverting the course of justice.

The tent, located near Ramallah, was unoccupied at the time of the attack and no one was hurt. The Hebrew word for "administrative," presumably referring to the recent administrative detention of right-wing activists, and a Magen David were also spray-painted on a stone nearby.

The two teens and an adult man from the Baladim outpost, a satellite outpost of the West Bank's Kochav Hashachar settlement, were arrested and taken to a Shin Bet security services facility for questioning.

The Shin Bet said Monday that Gafni, who is originally from the southern Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, is "a violent 'hilltop' activist and a member of a Jewish terror group, which is behind attacks."

Yussuf Ka'abanah, the tent's owner, points at the graffiti left by the assailants. Credit: Zakaria Sadeh from Rabbis for Human Rights

"Hilltop Youth" is a term used to refer to hardline nationalists settlers. 

Gafni has been living in the Baladim outpost. He had been under administrative order to leave the West Bank a number of times "in light of information that pointed to his involvement in, and carrying out of, a number of incidents of arson against property and religious sites of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem."

At the time of the attack, Ouday Kaaba, the tent owner's son, told Haaretz, "Just last week we left the tent for a place at a nearby hill because of the heat. Fortunately for us, no one was inside the tent when it was set on fire, otherwise the whole family would have burned."

According to Kaaba, the tent housed eight people, including children. He said the incident occurred late at night, and that they only discovered the damage when they arrived at the scene in the morning. Kaaba said the family stored animal feed for their herd and a lot of property.

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