Hundreds demonstrate in support of settler suspected of killing Palestinian in West Bank

Hundreds of right-wing activists demonstrated Saturday night outside the Ariel police station in the West Bank in support of a settler suspected of stabbing a Palestinian to death.

The Kan public broadcaster said the crowd gathered to protest because police prevented the suspect from meeting with a lawyer.

Right-wing MP Idit Silman, a renegade member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, said she was concerned about the suspect.

“I will call the Knesset Health Committee to review the conditions of his arrest and make sure his health is not in danger,” Silman said, according to Kan.

The man is suspected of murder as an act of terror and obstruction of justice, and will meet with a lawyer on Monday, according to the report.

Israeli police arrested a suspect on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the incident, in which a Palestinian man was stabbed to death the day before in the northern West Bank.

Palestinian witnesses said Ali Hassan Harb, a 27-year-old engineer, was stabbed in the chest by a settler on the outskirts of his hometown of Iskaka late Tuesday afternoon. A group of Israelis had arrived in the area with building materials in an apparent attempt to build a new illegal outpost.

Police first arrested a settler in his 40s who was being held as an alleged accomplice, but not because he was suspected of having stabbed himself. Police declined to comment further, citing a gag order prohibiting the publication of details of the investigation. It was unclear if Saturday’s protesters were focused on the same suspect.

Harb’s death is also being investigated by both the Shin Bet security service and the Nationalist Crimes Unit of the Israel Police Judea and Samaria Division, which often investigates violence. Jewish extremist.

The detained Israeli’s lawyer said in a statement that his client narrowly survived an assault by dozens of Palestinians.

Harb’s family said a settler stabbed him as he and others tried to prevent settlers from establishing an illegal outpost on his family’s land.

Israeli officials told The Times of Israel last year that Jewish extremist violence in the West Bank was on the rise. The number of attacks has increased in 2021 by almost 50%, according to the Shin Bet.

Most cases are never resolved. Since 2005, only 3% of police investigations into extremist violence against Palestinians have resulted in indictments, according to the left-wing group Yesh Din.

Settler leaders have condemned some of the more brazen attacks, such as an incident near the Givat Ronen outpost in which masked figures torched a car belonging to left-wing Israeli activists. They also say the phenomenon is overshadowed by the number of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis.

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