Palestinian-American convicted of deadly West Bank terror attack

Muntasir Shalabi found guilty of murdering 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta when he opened fire in May on a West Bank bus stop

Muntasir Shalabi, suspect in a May 2, 2021, West Bank drive-by shooting, in an undated photo (Courtesy)
Muntasir Shalabi, suspect in a May 2, 2021, West Bank drive-by shooting, in an undated photo (Courtesy)

A military court on Tuesday convicted a Palestinian man with US citizenship of murder, for shooting dead a Jewish student in the West Bank.

The court “convicted the terrorist Muntasir Shalabi, based on his confession, of the crime of intentional manslaughter — equivalent to the offense of murder,” the Israel Defense Forces said.

In addition, Shalabi was convicted of “several counts of attempted intentional manslaughter, and possession of a weapon and obstruction of justice,” according to a military statement.

Shalabi, 44, was arrested by Israeli forces in May after he opened fire on passengers waiting at a bus stop at Tapuah Junction, south of Nablus, in the northern West Bank.

The attack killed Yehuda Guetta, 19, a student at a yeshiva in the Itamar settlement, and wounded two of his friends.

Last month, the IDF demolished Shalabi’s house in Turmus Ayya, a village northeast of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Yehuda Guetta, 19, was killed in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank (courtesy)

The move was denounced by the United States, which said such demolitions “exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution.”

Home demolitions are a controversial punitive measure that the Israeli security establishment maintains can deter future terror attacks. The demolition came despite a number of legal challenges against it.

Guetta’s family last month slammed the Biden administration over its criticism of the house demolition, and said it would file lawsuits in Israel and in the US demanding that Shalabi’s assets be seized, including the land where his home had stood.

“This will be an unprecedented process that will teach terrorists and their handlers that there is no corner of the world where we won’t reach them, and that terror victims will continue pursuing them forever,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin legal aid group, representing the family.

Palestinian boy walks past a building that belonged to Muntasir Shalabi, accused of killing an Israeli student in a May terror attack, after it was demolished by Israeli forces in the village of Turmus Ayya near Ramallah in the West Bank on July 8, 2021 (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Guetta’s father, Elisha, said the family was “shocked that the US is condemning the demolition of [the home of] my son’s murderer and is supporting a terrorist who arrived from the US to carry out a vicious shooting terror attack against innocent Jewish students.

“It would be expected that the US, which has often been the victim of terrorism, would stand with terror victims rather than with their murderers,” he added.

Shalabi will be sentenced at a later date.

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