Military court convicts Halamish terrorist’s family for not turning him in
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Military court convicts Halamish terrorist’s family for not turning him in

Five relatives jailed after judges rule they knew Omar al-Abed planned to carry out attack, failed to prevent it

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Omar Al-Abed, in handcuffs, is brought to a courtroom for his trial at the Israel's Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 17, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Omar Al-Abed, in handcuffs, is brought to a courtroom for his trial at the Israel's Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 17, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a rare move, a military court convicted five family members of the terrorist who stabbed to death three Israelis in the Halamish settlement last month of failing to prevent the attack, the army said Sunday.

On July 21, Omar al-Abed left his home in Kobar and traveled to the nearby settlement. Inside the settlement, he went to the home of the Salomon family, who were celebrating the birth of a grandchild. Al-Abed killed the father, Yosef Salomon, 70, and two of his children, Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. Yosef’s wife, Tova, sustained several stab wounds to her back, but survived.

According to the Judea Regional Court, the family members “knew of [al-Abed’s] intention to carry out the attack and did not work to inform the security services as needed to prevent it.”

Two of al-Abed’s brothers and an uncle were sentenced to eight months in prison. His father, Abd al-Jalil, was sentenced to two months in prison.

Abd al-Jalil, who was arrested in an initial raid after the attack, told the Haaretz daily last month that his son’s actions were understandable.

Ibtisam, the mother of terrorist Omar al-Abed who stabbed to death three Israelis in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Ibtisam, the mother of terrorist Omar al-Abed who stabbed to death three Israelis in the Halamish settlement, on July 21, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

His mother, Ibtisam, was sentenced to one month in prison. She was also found guilty of incitement for praising her son’s actions in a widely shared video.

In addition to the prison time that they will have to serve, the five family members were given suspended sentences.

The family members’ sentences were meant to be commensurate with how aware they were of al-Abed’s intentions.

They were arrested in a series of raids on their home in the weeks following the brutal terror attack.

The Israel Police investigated the allegations against the al-Abeds and handed over their findings to military prosecutors, who indicted the family members earlier this month.

(L-R) Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon who were stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Courtesy)
(L-R) Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon who were stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Courtesy)

Last Thursday, a military court indicted al-Abed for the murder of Yosef, Elad, and Chaya Salomon and the attempted murders of Yosef’s wife, Tova, and daughter-in-law Michal, along with her five children.

On August 16, the military demolished the family’s home in Kobar, as an additional form of punishment against the al-Abeds.

Israel defends the practice of demolishing terrorists’ homes as an effective means of deterring future attacks, though it has been criticized as a form of collective punishment.

There has been considerable political support, notably from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for seeking the death penalty against Abed, but the Military Advocate General’s office, which will try the case in an IDF court, said that the punishment is not Israeli policy, despite it being permissible under law.

Jacob Magid and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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