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Israeli police detains teenager suspected of planning anti-Palestinian hate crime

12:00 Jul 2 2017 Jerusalem

Israeli police detains teenager suspected of planning anti-Palestinian hate crime
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Illustrative scene: An Israeli policeman walks past graffiti on a church in Jerusalem, on May 9, 2014. The graffiti reads "King David for the Jews... Jesus is garbage." (AFP/Thomas Coex, File) Published by Maan News
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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli police detained an Israeli teenager in Jerusalem on Sunday over suspicions of planning to carry out an anti-Palestinian hate crime.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a 17-year-old right-wing Israeli was detained near a gas station in southern Jerusalem while carrying pepper spray and a slingshot.

Al-Samri added that the youth was being interrogated by Israeli police over suspicions that he was planning to carry out a "price tag" attack -- a term used by right-wing extremist settlers to refer to the attacks they carry out on Palestinians and their property -- with two other suspects.

The detention comes as Israeli security forces have recently stepped up detentions of right-wing Israeli extremists, as well as evacuated an illegal settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank known for hosting particularly aggressive settlers.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Israeli authorities had issued 30 restraining orders currently in effect barring right-wing Jewish activists from entering the West Bank and contacting other Israeli extremists.

Haaretz added that one such extremist was the only Israeli currently being held in administrative detention -- Israel’s controversial policy of internment without trial or charges, overwhelmingly levied against Palestinians.

While al-Samri said that the arrests were made as “continued efforts” to protect Palestinians and their property, many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians.

In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016. OCHA has recorded 65 such attacks since the beginning of the year.
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