Arson attack on Arab café investigated, arson attack on Jewish outpost ignored

Friday, August 29, 2014, 12:29 On Monday, August 18 sofas were set on fire at an Arab café in the village of Dura al-Qara one day after a structure, which burned to the ground, was set on fire in the nearby Jewish outpost Ma’aleh HaAraba’a (near Beit El). One week later four Jewish youths were detained on suspicion of involvement with the arson in Dura al-Qara. No Arabs were detained on suspicion of involvement with the Ma’aleh HaAraba’a arson incident. Honenu responded: “We are once again witness to an arson attack on Jewish property which is not investigated whereas an arson attack on Arab property results in Jews being detained.” On Monday, August 25 detectives from the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police raided the homes of four Jewish youths and detained them on on suspicion of involvement with the above mentioned arson attack on an Arab café in the village of Dura al-Qara. The youths, minors 16-17 years of age, residents of Arad and communities in the Binyamin region were detained by an order issued approximately one week previously. The homes of some of the youths were searched. The youths were taken to Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station and interrogated. All of the youths deny any connection to the incident. A police representative refused to present photographs of the site of the incident to the youths’ attorney, claiming that it would disrupt the investigation. However already in the morning a spokesman for the Yehuda and Shomron Police had publicized the photographs. During the afternoon hours of Monday, August 25 the four detained youths were brought to a deliberation at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. The police requested a five-day remand extension. Attorney Erez Ben-Tzvi, who is representing the youths on behalf of Honenu, pleaded that they should be released, partially due to the length of time between the date of issuing the detention order and carrying out the detention, which indicates that the police understood that the youths did not pose a serious danger. Also Ben-Tzvi noted several violations of the rights of minors, among them the refusal of the police to allow the youths’ parents to be present during their interrogation, which is required by law. During the deliberation the police representative stated that at the site of the arson in Dura al-Qara graffiti was also spray painted. In response to a query by Ben-Tzvi concerning the phrasing of the graffiti the police representative refused to answer and stated that revealing that detail would disrupt the investigation. Honenu expresses surprise at the response being as already in the morning a spokesman from the Yehuda and Shomron Police gave a detailed announcement of the detention, including publicizing photographs of the scene of the incident, among them a photograph of the graffiti. Judge Michal Sharbit only partially agreed to the police request and extended the youths’ remand until Wednesday, August 27. The remand was subsequently extended and on Friday, August 29 an indictment was filed at the Jerusalem District Juvenile Court against the four Jewish youths. During the deliberation a representative of the Attorney General’s office requested that the remand of the youths be extended until the end of proceedings. Honenu attorneys Erez Ben-Tzvi and Adi Kedar requested that the detainees be released already the same day to an alternative to remand before a deliberation took place to examine the evidence. In the end Judge Rafi Carmel ordered that all four detainees be sent to the youth probation service for an expert opinion which will examine the possibility of releasing them at a deliberation which will take place the following week.

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