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4 Palestinians detained for 'incitement' and 'negligence' after deadly attack

July 2, 2017 3:44 P.M. (Updated: July 3, 2017 10:19 A.M.)
Palestinians shot dead after attack outside of Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City on June 16, 2017.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Following an attack in occupied East Jerusalem last month in which an Israeli border police officer was killed and three Palestinian assailants were shot dead, Israeli police detained four Palestinians amid a massive security crackdown that has been denounced as “collective punishment.”

In a statement Sunday morning, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri summarized the ongoing investigations into the four Palestinians who have been detained over their alleged involvement in the June 16 attack, which included the parents of one of the slain Palestinians, 18-year-old Adel Ankoush.

Immediately following the attack, Israeli forces besieged Deir Abu Mashaal, the hometown of the three slain Palestinians -- Ankoush, Baraa Ibrahim Saleh Taha, and Usama Ahmad Dahdouh -- and subjected it to multiple military raids, notably detaining Ankoush’s mother Zeinab on June 21. His father Hassan was detained during an overnight raid on June 29.

According to Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samidoun, Zeinab Ankoush, 46, was brought before a court on Thursday and stands accused of “incitement” after speaking out about the death of her child.

Al-Samri acknowledged that Ankoush’s parents were both detained simply for statements they made following the attack, presumably made on social media, which she referred to as “incitement.”

The Israeli prosecution demanded that Hassan Ankoush’s remand be extended at the military court at Ofer detention center on Sunday, while Zeinab Ankoush’s remand is also expected to be extended on Monday.

Additionally, a 52-year-old Palestinian resident of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya was detained, over suspicions of transporting the three slain Palestinians from the occupied West Bank without Israeli permission.

Al-Samri wrote in her statement that the man drove them from Ramallah the day before the attack “using long detours away from main streets.”

A fourth Palestinian from the Ramallah area was also detained last week “for being involved in the organization of the attack,” al-Samri said.

According to her statement, the Palestinian from Ramallah and the Jerusalemite were both being interrogated over "causing death due to negligence."

The public prosecution demanded that both of their detentions be extended for the second time, at a session at the Israeli magistrate’s court in Jerusalem on Sunday.

“Any person that transfers someone, Palestinian or not, who does not have a legal permit to enter Israel and who is considered a terrorist, will be responsible for all consequences,” al-Samri wrote. "Any person that releases statements by any means that incites for violence and terrorism will be reached sooner or later and will be presented to severe justice.”

Israeli authorities have continued to implement restrictive policies on Palestinians in Deir Abu Mashaal, Israeli NGO B'Tselem reported on Thursday.

Immediately following the attack, Israeli authorities also took measurements of the homes of the alleged assailants in preparations for punitive demolitions, which the families had been informed would be carried out “soon.”

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a total of 22 people, the three mens’ family members, will be left homeless by the punitive demolitions in spite of not having been charged with any wrongdoing.

Some 250,000 Palestinians who had received family visitation permits to enter Jerusalem and Israel during Ramadan also saw their permits revoked following the attack.

In addition, family members of the alleged assailants had their Israeli work permits revoked as a punitive measure. B’Tselem reported that this included 50 residents from the assailants’ extended families who were dependent on work inside Israel.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the three alleged assailants have continued to be held by Israeli authorities, as Israel is known to withhold Palestinian bodies from their families for extended periods of time after they have carried out an attack, alleging that funerals of “martyrs” -- Palestinians killed by Israeli forces -- encourage “incitement” against the Israeli state.

“For almost two weeks now, ever since the attack, the military has been disrupting the lives of all 5,000 or so residents of the village, although they have been accused of no personal wrongdoing,” B’Tselem said in the report.

“This automatic form of retaliation has become a matter of policy for the military, in a cynical abuse of its power to mistreat civilians. This kind of collective harm is morally and legally indefensible,” B’Tselem added.
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