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Israel releases Jewish extremist arson attacker from jail

Xinhua, June 1, 2016 Adjust font size:

A top right-wing Jewish extremist was released from jail on Wednesday after a 10-month-long detention, Israel's Prison Service said in a statement.

Meir Ettinger was arrested last year following an arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed a Palestinian, an 18-month-old baby and his parents.

No charges have been made against him, although he was released under restricting conditions, including a restraining order banning him from Jerusalem and the West Bank, and a prohibition on contacting 90 people, who are also allegedly involved in ultranationalist activity.

Ettinger was held under administrative detention, an incarceration without charges for renewable periods of six months. He was among a handful of cases in which this practice, usually used to detain Arabs without a trial, was applied against a Jew.

Ettinger, a 24-year-old settler from the Jewish outpost of Givat Ronen, south of Nablus in the West Bank, was arrested in August by the Shin Bet security agency for belonging to an underground Jewish group in the West Bank, which planned attacks against Palestinians in order to escalate the violence between Jews and Palestinians in the area.

According to the Shin Bet, the group wished to ultimately topple the regime in Israel and establish a new state, based on the Hebrew biblical law. Ettinger has been one of the Shin Bet's top wanted suspects prior to his arrest.

Over the past years, ultranationalist Israelis have increasingly been carrying out attacks against Palestinians, include harassments of Palestinian farmers, vandalizing Palestinian property, cemeteries, mosques, and churches.

According to a report issued a year ago by the Yesh-Din non-governmental organization, which advocates for human rights in the West Bank, up until then about 85 percent of the cases of attacks and vandalism against Palestinians have been closed due to failure by the police to investigate, locate suspects or find sufficient evidence in order to file indictments.

According to the report, only 7.4 percent of the investigations yielded indictments.

Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast War and has been controlling these territories ever since despite international condemnation. Endit