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Palestinian jailed for West Bank bar mitzvah hike attack

The Samaria Military Court hands down its first sentencing for the November stone-throwing attack on a group of Israeli settlers on a bar mitzvah hike near the West Bank village of Qusra.

A Palestinian is sentenced to 16 days in prison, along with a year-and-a-half long suspended sentence, and a fine of NIS 8,000, NIS 3,000 of which will be transferred to the Israeli children from the attack as compensation.

The ruling is part of a plea bargain reached after the culprit confessed to stealing the cell phone of one of the children and installing his own SIM card in it for his own use.

Reading out her decision, the presiding judge states that the theft was indeed a serious crime, but “the fact that there is no evidence of the defendant’s presence in that incident, I decided to respect the plea bargain.”

Haim Bleicher, who has represented the Israeli settlers on behalf of the right-wing Honenu legal aid organization, says Sunday’s sentencing is “the tip of the iceberg” and calls on law enforcement to bring to justice all those involved in the attack “including the Qusra leadership.”

Separately Sunday, authorities return the weapon of one of the trip’s parent chaperones, who used it to shoot dead 48-year-old Qusra resident Mahmoud Za’al Odeh.

Last month, the Central District Attorney’s Office closed its investigation into the pair of chaperones responsible for Odeh’s death, saying it was an act of self-defense.

— Jacob Magid

Israeli settlers and Palestinians clash in the northern West Bank near Qusra on November 30, 2017. (courtesy)

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