Settler Suspected of Shooting is Released on Bail by Court

West Bank settlers scored a victory Monday, when the Jerusalem District Court released on bail a Hebron settler suspected of having killed a 14-year-old Palestinian in response to a rock-throwing attack last week.

Judge Dalia Koval decided to release Haim Ben-Lulu, 50, on bail, since “there was no concern that he would run away, there was no fear that he would try to obstruct legal procedures and he was unlikely to endanger the public’s safety.”

Ben-Lulu left the courtroom to the cheers of his fellow settlers, after friends deposited the 25,000 shekel ($14,000) bail.

Ben-Lulu, a building contractor who resides in Kiryat Arba, was arrested Saturday night on suspicion of having shot Nader Da’ane to death in downtown Hebron on Friday after Palestinians began throwing rocks at his car.

In court Monday, Ben-Lulu convinced the judge that he was acting in self-defense. He told the court that he was forced to use his rifle only after he had been surrounded by dozens of Arab youths who threatened his life by throwing rocks at his car.

RIOT IN EAST JERUSALEM

Moreover, it turned out that the Arab youth was not hit directly by bullets from Ben-Lulu’s rifle, but rather by shrapnel from shots fired at a slightly different direction.

The court released Ben-Lulu a day after Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin rejected demands by right-wing Cabinet ministers to give settlers more leeway to use firearms when attacked with rocks.

While the court was in session, Jerusalem police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration of Palestinian youths on Saladin Street, where the courthouse is located.

Three Palestinians were slightly wounded and 15 were arrested in the confrontation.

The riot began as a May Day rally at the Hakawati Theater in East Jerusalem, a few yards away from the courthouse.

After the rally, dozens of Arab youths began marching down the street in the direction of the American Consulate, with the intention of demonstrating there. The protesters chanted nationalist slogans and songs.

ANOTHER COLLABORATOR MURDERED

As they passed the courthouse, near the Justice Ministry, police ordered the demonstrators to disperse and began firing tear-gas canisters and rubber bullets.

Violence also broke out Monday in Tulkarm, where a local resident was murdered–apparently by fellow Palestinians to punish him for collaborating with the authorities.

According to security sources, the upsurge in murders of alleged collaborators is partly due to the fact that the army has decreased its presence in the territories and is no longer deployed in remote areas.

This, the sources explained, enables nationalist elements in the territories to operate almost freely in some areas, making it possible for them to carry out political assassinations in broad daylight, without fear of being caught.

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