Court releases Israelis who entered Palestinian town to pray

A group of Jews entered a Palestinian village to pray and were attacked. 

A group of Israeli Jews was arrested overnight between Wednesday and Thursday in the Palestinian village Kiffel-Hares after they tried holding midnight prayers at the grave of the Biblical prophet Joshua, located in the village. Police said the group entered the town, near the city of Ariel, but was quickly attacked by a barrage of rocks.

IDF forces rescued the Israelis; police detained them for questioning. The group is suspected of violating a military order by entering a Palestinian village, considered a closed military zone  – actions that could endanger the public and disturb the work of a public servant. The men were detained overnight.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court accepted arguments Thursday by the group. The court said there was no reasonable expectation that the men entered the village with intent to commit a crime, adding that ‘anything not expressly prohibited by law must be permitted.”

Police also said that no rioters were arrested.

‘Once Again, Police Rewarded Terrorism’

The Honenu legal-aid organization criticized security forces for having “given another reward to terrorism,” saying the area in question is not located in a closed military zone.

“Once again the police has rewarded terrorism and arrested Jews who came to pray but were attacked by Arabs,” said Honenu in a statement. “Kiffel-Hares is in Area B (unless the village’s status has changed in the last few weeks), meaning Israelis are allowed to enter.

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“I guess the police have decided that it is easier to act against Jews at prayer instead of against Arab rioters,” Honenu said.

By: Andrew Friedman/TPS