The Supreme Court on Thursday reduced the sentence of a Palestinian teenager who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem in October 2015 by two and a half years.
The court shortened the jail time for Ahmed Manasra, who was convicted of the attempted murder of two Israelis in a knife attack carried out when he was 13, from 12 years to 9.5 years.
Manasra carried out the attack with his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra.
The two stabbed and seriously wounded a 20-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev.
Hassan Manasra was shot dead by security forces, while Ahmed Manasra was hit by a car as he fled.
Despite reducing the prison sentence, the compensation Manasra must pay to the victims was left unchanged — NIS 100,000 to the Jewish teenager and NIS 80,000 to the injured man.
“The two-and a-half-year reduction is good, although we would have hoped for more,” Manasra’s lawyer Lea Tzemel told AFP.
The judges wrote in their ruling that “the actions of the appellant were extremely severe. However, we cannot ignore that his part in this incident was secondary to that of his cousin.”
“We can also not ignore the appellant’s extremely young age and his rehabilitation process, and the opinion [of the prison authorities] that was submitted in his case,” they said.
The prison authorities had asked that Manasra’s sentence be reduced.
In the ruling the judges said that they made their decision “in view of the way the appellant dealt with the crimes he committed, the insights he gained from it, his good behavior during his stay in the secure [youth] facility and now in jail, and the Probation Service’s impression that a long prison term may have undesirable consequences for him.”
“The appellant plotted a plan with his cousin to murder innocent people on nationalistic and ideological grounds… which require a serious punishment,” the judges wrote, “but in the meantime the appellant has undergone a long rehabilitation process. In light of this there is room to shorten the prison sentence.”
Manasra’s case became a lightning rod for both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian divide after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas erroneously claimed in a televised speech that Israelis had “summarily executed” Ahmed. The 13-year-old at the time was recovering at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center.
In the days following the attack, police released security camera footage of the Manasra cousins wielding knives and chasing a man through the streets of Pisgat Ze’ev on the morning of October 13, 2015.
A video was also leaked of him being treated at a Jerusalem hospital.
Manasra, an East Jerusalem resident, was the youngest Palestinian to be convicted by an Israeli civilian court.
At the sentencing hearing in September, Tzemel told journalists that her client had apologized “to the child he stabbed, who was present in court.”
After his conviction in May 2015, she said Manasra “said he just wanted to scare Jews so they’d stop killing Palestinians.”
“We have requested a procedure of reintegration, given that he is a minor and minors have more rights when it comes to reintegration into society,” Tzemel added at the time.