A far-right activist was convicted of incitement to violence in the lead-up to the 2017 evacuation of the Amona outpost in the West Bank, the Jerusalem District Court said Tuesday.
The panel of three judges accepted an appeal by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, overturning a decision made over a year ago by the city’s magistrate’s court to acquit Dor Oved. At the time, the court did not deem the threats made by the 27-year-old to be credible.
The charges centered around messages Oved sent on WhatsApp to a group of activists protesting the February 2017 Amona evacuation, which turned violent during the clearing of a synagogue where youth protesters held their last stand against Israeli officers, injuring 17 of them.
“In Amona (people) must be wounded — but only on the side of the damn Zio-nazis,” wrote Oved, referring to the security forces.
The far-right activist criticized the Amona leadership, which had called on demonstrators to avoid clashing with troops. “I’m in favor of fighting until the last drop of blood,” he wrote on the messaging app.
“We cannot let the damn Zionists (think that they can) do whatever they want and that it will pass in silence,” the court decision also quotes Oved as writing.
The activist even sent a picture of an Israeli flag with an Uzi machine gun on it and the caption, “We will take revenge mercilessly.”
In accepting the district attorney’s appeal, the panel of judges wrote that “in terms of the content that was publicized, the defendant has a clear call for action.” The court explained that in the social media age, when posts can easily spread, Oved’s messages had the potential to reach hundreds of users, even those that were not members of the particular group of activists where the threats had initially been sent.
The ruling rejected the defense of Oved’s attorney, who pointed out that similar threats had been made by other members of the WhatsApp group yet his client was the only one charged. The judges acknowledged as problematic the fact that no one else had been indicted, but ultimately concluded that was not enough of a reason to uphold the initial acquittal.
With the panel’s decision — officially handed down on September 17 — Oved’s case is now returned to the Magistrate’s Court for sentencing.
In 2014, he was sentenced to one year behind bars after being convicted of spray-painting death threats in and around the apartment complex of Peace Now staffer Hagit Ofran.
Oved’s parents have argued in the past that their son suffers from mental health issues.
No convictions for violence have yet been handed down against protesters from the February 2017 evacuation of Amona, which was razed after the High Court of Justice deemed it to have been built on private Palestinian land. Police estimated that 1,000 people — the majority of them teenage boys — demonstrated in Amona, barricading themselves inside the outpost’s buildings and forcing officers to remove them one by one.
Three protesters were indicted in November 2017 for disrupting police efforts to carry out the evacuation, but they avoided assault charges despite the fact that a total of 60 police officers were injured during the outpost’s clearing. A decision has yet to be made in their cases.