The State Attorney’s office on Thursday nixed a decision to grant early release to one of the men jailed for their role in a terror attack in Jerusalem last year, in which a Border Police officer was killed.
East Jerusalem resident Hani Dari was found guilty of negligent manslaughter for illegally driving the three Palestinians from the West Bank to the Old City in June 2017, where one of them stabbed Hadas Malka to death while she was on patrol near Damascus Gate.
West Bank resident Muhammad Hamdan, who arranged the smuggling of the men, was also charged with negligent homicide. The court determined the two did not know about attack plans, and last July sentenced Hamdan to 14 months in jail, and Dari to 16 months.
Hamdan was released earlier this year, after the prisons service parole board reduced his sentence by a third, going against the recommendation of the prisons authority and without telling Malka’s family.
Last month, the parole board announced that Dari’s sentence would also be reduced by a third, but his release was delayed after Malka’s family asked the district attorney to intervene in the matter.
On Thursday, the Southern District Attorney’s Office said the prison parole board failed to take into account the extent of danger the driver poses, and noted that the Shin Bet security service was also opposed to his early release, Hadashot news reported.
The decision also cited the strong opposition to his release by Malka’s family, and said that as a card-carrying Israeli resident, his actions were viewed with more severity than those of his Palestinian counterpart.
State attorneys noted in the decision that prison authorities failed to notify Malka’s family when Hamdan was granted early release as required by law.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the nixed parole as the “right decision.”
“Murderers and those who collaborate with them must be punished to the full extent and serve their punishment to the fullest,” he said in a statement.
On June 16, 2017, Malka was responding to an attack on Israeli security forces outside the Old City walls when she was stabbed in the chest by a Palestinian assailant.
She fought her attacker while attempting to draw her weapon, and succumbed to her injuries a short time later.
Though many criminals jailed in Israel often have their sentences reduced, prison officials say it’s rare for Palestinian security prisoners to be eligible for parole.
Israeli law enforcement has long attempted to tamp down on Palestinians entering Israel illegally, most of whom are employed in construction and other low-paying work. A number of attacks inside Israel have been carried out by Palestinians who came in with others sneaking through to seek employment.