Palestinian just convicted of stabbing her neighbor may be freed in Hamas deal

Dvir Cohen, whose wife Moriah was attacked by Nafoz Hamad in Jerusalem, says that while he’s ‘happy for the families of the hostages,’ he’ll fight to keep her in prison

Moria Cohen speaks to press in her home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighorhood of Jerusalem in this image dated December 8, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Moria Cohen speaks to press in her home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighorhood of Jerusalem in this image dated December 8, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Palestinian teenager who was sentenced to 12 years in prison earlier this month for stabbing her Israeli neighbor could be freed in a deal that will see Israel release 150 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 50 of the roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

Earlier this month, Nafoz Hamad was found guilty of attempted murder and obstruction of justice for stabbing Moriah Cohen in the contentious Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in December 2021.

On Wednesday, Cohen was informed that Hamad, who was 14 at the time of the attack, could be released. She was one of 300 Palestinian prisoners on a list made public Wednesday who could be released as part of the deal with Hamas.

Hamad is one of 13 female prisoners on the list, most of them convicted of attempted terror stabbings. The other 287 are male security prisoners aged 18 and younger — most of them held for rioting and rock-throwing in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

In December 2021, Cohen, then 26, was outside with five of her six children when she was stabbed by Hamad with a 30-centimeter (1-foot) knife. Her injuries were categorized as light. Now, with the case against her attacker finally closed, Cohen is concerned she may soon come face to face with her in her home neighborhood.

According to the deal, Israel will release 150 teenage and female Palestinian security prisoners during a four-day ceasefire in exchange for 50 Israeli women and children who have been held by Hamas in Gaza since October 7.

The remaining 150 Palestinians on the list could be released in the future in exchange for additional Israeli hostages.

The cabinet approved the hostage deal on Tuesday night in a 35-3 vote, with members of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s ultranationalist party opposed.

The hostages have been held in Gaza, with no Red Cross access, since October 7, when thousands of Hamas terrorists carried out an onslaught in southern Israel, abducting some 240 people including babies and the elderly, and killing at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Israelis attend a rally calling for the release of Israelis held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza at ‘Hostage Square’ in Tel Aviv, November 18, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Speaking to Channel 12 on Tuesday morning, Dvir Cohen, Moriah’s husband, said that while the family knows that this is a national event and that they are just “cogs in the overall system,” it is difficult for them to accept that Hamad could be released.

“The children were with my wife when she was stabbed and we promised them that they would never see her [the terrorist] again and that she would be in prison for the rest of her life. I don’t know what will happen next Saturday if my wife opens the door and sees this devil in front of her.”

Despite feeling sympathetic for the families of the hostages who have waited for any sort of deal for over six weeks, Cohen, who is currently serving as an IDF reservist, said that he would be fighting the decision to include Hamad’s name on the list of prisoners who could be released.

“About two weeks ago, the sentence was handed down to her and we thought that with this we had closed the legal affair. Today we seek legal help again — we very much hope the terrorist will not come back here or that they at least give her a deportation order,” he said.

“It’s important for us to say that we are happy for the families of the hostages, that their loved ones will be released,” he continued. “We empathize with them and embrace them. We hope that everyone will return home soon. It’s just hard for us with the situation we have found ourselves in.”

Most Popular
read more: