In an unprecedented ruling, a military court on Wednesday sentenced a Palestinian man to two life terms plus 58 years for the murder of two Israelis in a stone-throwing incident in 2011.
The court at Ofer military prison earlier this month found Wa’al al-Araji, 25, from Halhul, to be directly responsible for the deaths of Asher Palmer and his 1-year-old son Yehonatan.
Palmer was driving from his home in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba toward Jerusalem when Araji and accomplices drove towards them in the opposite direction. As the two cars passed each other, Araji hurled a rock that smashed through the windshield, knocking Palmer unconscious. The car swerved off the road, killing its occupants.
The decision was unusual in that the Military Advocate generally does not seek a murder charge against stone-throwing Palestinians, even when their actions cause fatalities. However, the panel of three judges said that, in this particular case, there could be no doubt that the accused intended to kill and had perpetrated similar — although less deadly — attacks in the past.