Five Israeli teenagers have been accused of stoning to death a Palestinian mother.
Aisha Rabi, a Palestinian mother of nine, was travelling by car with her husband and two daughters when she was struck on the head by a stone. She died near the settlement of Rehelim, in the occupied West Bank, on October 12.
The Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) have not revealed any information on the five suspects detained under suspicion of the crime as they were minors but they are liable for “grave terrorism offences, including murder”. What is known is that the suspects are students of Pri Haaretz, a yeshiva high school for Orthodox boys in Rehelim.
It is speculated that this attack was in response to an attack two weeks ago where a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli workers in an Israeli-run factory in the West Bank. Lawyers representing three of the detained denied that their clients were connected to the crime and asserted that Shin Bet had no evidence to prove that they were culpable.
Attacks upon Palestinians by settlers began over a decade ago as part of a doctrine known as “price tag”, in which settlers seek retribution for attacks against the Israeli security forces. Settlers have set fire to mosques, churches, fields, vehicles and have vandalised property.
Shin Bet reported that after the attack, activists came to the settlement where they briefed the students on how to prepare for the interrogation. This journey was on the Sabbath (Saturday) and hence raised suspicion for it would be illegal for observant Jews to drive on the Sabbath and Yitzhar is a religious settlement.
Shin Bet has attempted to clamp down on settler terrorism by employing methods usually reserved for acts of Palestinian terrorism. This includes administrative detention and delaying access to lawyers.
Haaretz reports that Jewish perpetrators have committed 482 acts of violence and property against Palestinians, a threefold increase from the last year.
The death of Aisha Rabi and arrest of the Israeli teens follow Prime Minister Netanyahu called for early elections in April.