Israel charges Jewish teen over Palestinian’s killing

Jerusalem:Israeli prosecutors on Thursday charged a Jewish 16-year-old with manslaughter after he allegedly threw a stone at a car in the occupied West Bank and killed a Palestinian woman.

Prosecutors announced the indictment for the October incident in a statement, alleging the unnamed suspect threw the stone in an anti-Arab attack “as part of an act of terror”.

He was also charged with stone-throwing and intentional sabotage of a vehicle, both “under terrorist circumstances”.

Aisha Rabi, 48, died after the stone smashed through the windshield of the car she was travelling in with her husband and nine-year-old daughter in the West Bank on October 12.

The mother of nine was struck on the head and died later at a hospital in the city of Nablus. The stone weighed about two kilograms (4.4 pounds), according to prosecutors.

Her husband managed to continue driving and make it to a Palestinian clinic, prosecutors said.

Israeli authorities arrested the suspect on December 30. Four other suspects arrested as part of the investigation have been released to house arrest.

The five were students at the Pri Haaretz religious seminary in the Rechelim settlement in the West Bank.

Israeli media have reported that evidence against the teenager includes his DNA found on the stone.

– ‘Our son is innocent’ –
The suspect’s lawyers issued a statement after the indictment was announced saying he was innocent and alleging prosecutors were desperate to charge someone with the crime.

“We know that our son is innocent,” the statement quoted his father as saying.

Israeli investigations into “Jewish terrorism” — as such cases are often referred to by Israeli media — are highly sensitive.

Israeli authorities have been accused by rights activists of dragging their feet in such cases in comparison to investigations into Palestinian attacks, while far-right Israelis say suspects have undergone coercement and torture.

The most high-profile case in recent years was a 2015 firebombing of a home in the Palestinian village of Duma that killed an 18-month-old boy and his parents.

Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, from the northern West Bank settlement of Shilo, was charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder, arson and conspiracy to commit a hate crime in the case.

A 17-year-old was charged with being an accessory to committing a racially motivated murder.

However, an Israeli court has since thrown out parts of the confessions of both the minor and Ben-Uliel, ruling they were obtained through physical coercion, dealing a setback to the case.

The minor in the case was given house arrest in July after the ruling on the confessions.