Two Israelis arrested for killing Palestinian while defending themselves from attack near Ramallah

Lawmaker calls for “the security system [to] direct its forces to deal with the nests of terrorism instead of persecuting the residents of Binyamin who are holding onto our land with great self-sacrifice.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two Jewish residents of Samaria have been arrested following a clash Friday between groups of Jews and Arabs in the village of Burqa east of Ramallah in which Qusai Jamal Maatan (19) was shot and killed.

One of the suspects, Elisha Yered, had served until two months ago as spokesman for MK Limor Son Har Melech (Otzma Yehudit). The other, Yechiel Indor, was badly injured in the clash and is currently hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center with a serious head wound.

Due to his medical condition, he has yet to be questioned by police, but the court extended both his and Yered’s official detention by five days, with the judge noting that they are suspected of the serious charge of causing the death of a person with intent or indifference, with a racial motive.

Yered had spoken in the past of the “need to erase Huwara,” a Palestinian-controlled town where many terror attacks have taken place in recent months, including several ending in the murder of Jewish civilians.

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According to Indor’s lawyer, “Hundreds of Arabs were facing dozens of Jews, none of whom were armed except [Indor],” and “there is no claim that there was no violence on both sides.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that Maatan was “shot dead by settlers who stormed the village.” Its foreign ministry condemned the “armed and organized attacks…on innocent Palestinians in Burqa.” An unnamed witness quoted by Al Jazeera claimed that “the youth of the village went out to confront them using stones. Settlers opened fire, they killed one person and wounded others.”

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the “settlers” had brought animals with them in order to show that they wanted to establish a settlement by confiscating Palestinian land in the region.

The police investigation revealed that the episode began as an argument over grazing land, which led to both sides throwing stones at each other, with several Israelis, including Indor, being injured by rocks. The Palestinians reportedly also shot fireworks at the Jews, and at least one Jew fired a shot in return, allegedly Indor.

Referring to the Saturday attack in which Israeli municipal patrol officer Chen Amir was murdered, Son Har Melech defended her former employee, saying, “When a security patrol in Tel Aviv eliminates a terrorist, he is applauded by all the security forces, but when a Jew defends his life in [the] Binyamin [region] from an Arab mob that rose up to kill him, he is arrested while wounded.”

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She called for “the security system [to] direct its forces to deal with the nests of terrorism instead of persecuting the residents of Binyamin who are holding onto our land with great self-sacrifice.”

As of Sunday morning, the police had yet to question any Palestinians involved in the attack, described by some as a “near lynching.”

Burqa is situated next to Homesh, a northern Samarian Jewish community destroyed during the 2005 Disengagement, which the High Court had ruled as being partially built on Burqa residents’ private land. The yeshiva in Homesh was recently rebuilt on state land on the site, but the residents still claim that they cannot access their plots. There have been many Palestinian terror attacks in the area.

“Dangerous Jewish nationalist terrorism is developing in front of us,” former defense minister Benny Gantz, head of the National Unity party, stated.

Shabak head Ronen Bar warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday that “Jewish terror” was fanning Arab terror, and that those who are reaping the benefits are Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Likud backbencher MK Tali Gottlieb responded angrily to Bar’s message, telling Ynet Live Sunday that “the ideas of the Left have reached the top of the Shabak as well” and that “the timing of the Shabak head’s memo is outrageous.”

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National Security Minister and Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir said, “My policy is clear. Anyone who defends himself from stone-throwers should receive a medal. I expect police chief Uzi Levy to advance the investigation quickly and conduct a comprehensive investigation as well of all the Arab rioters who threw stones and tried to murder Jews.”

The State Department tweeted out a statement supporting the Palestinian version of events, stating, “We strongly condemn yesterday’s terror attack by Israeli extremist settlers that killed a 19-year-old Palestinian. The US extends our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones. We note Israeli officials have made several arrests and we urge full accountability and justice.”