A Palestinian terrorist who killed an Israeli woman and injured two others in an attack in November was sentenced Thursday to two consecutive life imprisonment terms, amid pleas from the victim’s mother to impose the death penalty.
The judges stated during the sentencing hearing that “one [life sentence] was given for the murder of [Lemkus], and the other for the attempted murders.”
Maher Hamdi el-Hashalmoun killed Dalia Lemkus, the 26-year-old daughter of immigrants from South Africa, while she was hitchhiking from a bus stop outside the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut. She lived in nearby Tekoa.
Two men were injured in the attack.
The military court also ordered Alashalmon, a resident of Hebron, to pay nearly NIS 4 million in compensation to the Lemkus family.
“This verdict will never be able to provide relief to the family of the deceased, but it condemns and expresses disgust of the accused’s actions,” the judges added.
Hashalmoun expressed no regret when he was given the right to speak during the trial. “The problem is with you Jews is that you don’t understand that the al-Aqsa mosque is our holiest location. We set our eyes on Jerusalem and are willing to die for it,” he told the court.
During the attack, Hashalmoun first tried to ram his Subaru minivan into the three people waiting at the bus stop. When he failed to run them over, he left his car and attacked them with a knife, until he was shot by a passerby.
Hashalmoun, affiliated with Islamic Jihad, spent four and a half years in Israeli custody for throwing Molotov cocktails, and was released five years ago.
During Thursday’s hearing, Brenda Lemkus, the victim’s mother, turned to the judges and asked them for the death penalty, although death penalties have never been imposed by Israeli judges against terrorism convicts.
“I ask that the court decide on the death penalty. Prison for him will be a hotel, after which he will be released, and that’s why the only way to deter is death, so that he will not be released in a future diplomatic deal,” Lemkus said in court.