Palestinians detained over Burqa clash, Israeli shooter given house arrest

Two Israelis who claimed they acted in self-defense in a brawl that claimed the life of a Palestinian were arrested. Does the detention of two Palestinians, with more expected soon, change the picture?

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israeli police and IDF forces detained two Palestinians on Monday for allegedly attacking settlers during a clash near the Arab village of Burqa 11 days ago in which one Israeli was severely injured and his assailant was killed.

The two detainees, an adult and a minor, are suspected of assault under aggravating circumstances and throwing rocks, said the police, who added that additional arrests are expected soon in the ongoing investigation.

Five Palestinians had previously been taken in for questioning over the clash but were soon released from custody as the court said there was “no reasonable suspicion” against them.

In the Friday night incident, dozens of Jewish residents of nearby communities got into a fight with a few hundred Arabs over grazing rights in Samaria near Burqa, which is located near Ramallah and the village of Oz Zion.

Two Israelis, Elisha Yered and Yechiel Indor, were arrested the next evening, although Yered was transferred to house arrest by Wednesday as the court said police evidence of his involvement was very weak.

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Indor, severely injured, was ordered by the court on Sunday to be released from hospital into police custody. This was despite the fact that he had not fully recovered from the attack, having undergone brain surgery the previous week to repair the damage inflicted by a large rock hurled at his head by 19-year-old Qusai Jamal Maatan, who was then reportedly shot dead.

Indor’s quick discharge raised alarm bells on the Right; according to Israel National News, the hospital document stated, “There are no special instructions regarding a bed he will sleep on.”

Confessions under torture

Journalist Arnon Segal tweeted that “someone is preparing Amiram Ben-Uliel 2,” referring to the man convicted in the Duma arson case on the basis of confessions made under torture.

Indor’s family wrote to the court that “the discharge conditions were written under pressure from the Shin Bet and the police,” and his lawyers asked that his medical state be evaluated “immediately,” as prison conditions could endanger his life.

When requesting a five-day extension of his arrest during the Sunday proceeding, police removed the nationalist motive they had first ascribed to the shooting. They still plan to charge Indor with the lesser crime of causing death by indifference or intent as well as conspiracy to commit a crime, obstruction of justice, and rioting.

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“Indor admits that he used a weapon but denies that he fired directly and claims that he shot into the air,” the police representative told the court.

On Monday, a different judge denied the defense’s request to have Indor sent to house arrest, while acknowledging that his claim of self-defense is legitimate. The police representative said that others’ descriptions of the events “and the topography of the area” contradict his claim.

However, on Tuesday, Jerusalem District Court Judge Alexander Ron upheld the ruling of the Magistrate’s Court to release Indor to house arrest.

On Sunday night, several hundred people demonstrated at the entrance to Jerusalem in support of Indor, calling for his release as they believe his version of events. Two protestors were arrested as police violently shoved and hit people after they blocked the road for a few minutes.