Palestinian Activist Must Be Jailed to Keep Him Away From 'Bacterial Surroundings,' IDF Prosecutor Says

Israeli army prosecutor appeals release on bail of Bil'in's Abdullah Abu Rahma, arrested while trying to reach his village's lands that lie beyond the separation barrier.

An Israeli military prosecutor asked an army tribunal to reincarcerate a prominent Palestinian activist in order to distance him from his "bacterial surroundings."
The unusual remark was made at an army court about two weeks ago, during a hearing regarding an appeal against the release on bail of Abdullah Abu Rahma, the leader of the Bil'in village's struggle against Israel's West Bank wall.
The village's fight against the wall, which bars access to some of its land, was popularized in the Israeli-Palestinian co-production Five Broken Cameras.
Abu Rahma was arrested in May, at a bicycle protest by villagers during which they tried to reach their land beyond the wall. At his first court hearing, a judge rejected officers' claims that Abu Rahma resisted arrest after viewing footage that purported to show that the officers had started beating the activist without any provocation on his part.
However, evidence was produced that allegedly shows that Abu Rahma refused to comply with the officers' order for the protest to disperse, and an indictment was filed against him for obstructing a police officer.
In the June 1 hearing, military prosecutor Vital Hausman appealed Abu Rahma's release. claiming that he had to be kept behind bars to keep him away from his "bacterial surroundings."
The chief military prosecutor in the West Bank was in the courtroom when Hausman spoke, but made no comment about the unusual remark.
The judge rejected the prosecutor's appeal, ruling that Abu Rahma isn't dangerous enough to warrant being held in custody through the end of his trial.
"It would be better if the representatives of both sides keep their composure… and be careful in their wordings and style," the judge said.
Abu Rahma's attorney, Gaby Lasky, told Haaretz that "anyone who refers to an non-violent sporting event as 'bacterial surroundings' isn't treating the Palestinians as human beings and cannot hold a position as a prosecutor seeking justice."
Following a Haaretz inquiry, the IDF said the prosecutor's commander made it clear to him that such statements are unacceptable.

Chaim Levinson
Haaretz Corresponden
read more:
Schermata 2016 06 14 alle 22.27.36

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives.

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