Police should not stigmatize residents of the West Bank Yitzhar settlement, warned Judge Moshe Yoed Hacohen of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court on Monday.
“A population should not be labeled, because of their geographical residence or their national affiliation,” the judge said.
He spoke in response to an appeal by attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir to release a man from Yitzhar suspected of involvement in last month’s price-tag attack on a mosque in the Israeli-Arab village of Umm el-Fahm, located in northern Israel.
Police arrested him, because his car was at the scene of the attack. On Monday, Ben-Gvir argued that the car’s possible presence at the scene does not prove that the man was involved in the price-tag attack.
The car, he said, is registered in the name of the man’s wife, who was among three others from Yitzhar arrested on suspicion of involvement in that attack and then released.
Ben-Givr explained that in Yitzhar it is customary for people to leave their keys in their cars so neighbors can use the vehicles.
The prosecutor, Shmuel Gerbi, dismissed Ben- Gvir’s contention. This excuse of interchangeable vehicles is often used to try and clear people from Yitzhar of suspicion, Gerbi said.
“Every time a car leaves Yitzhar and is involved in some [illegal] activity, they say that anyone can take it,” Gerbi said.
The judge warned the prosecution and police that they will need evidence that is not circumstantial to the man’s location, but he upheld the suspect’s arrest until Wednesday when he is due back in court.
On Monday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court released two men arrested in Yitzhar on suspicion of interfering with a Border Police operation late Saturday night as they raided the home of the Umm al-Fahm suspect.
The judge ordered the two men to stay away from Yitzhar for 10 days and to pay NIS 3,000 in bail.