Israeli court sentences Palestinian murderer to six years

The lenient sentence given to the Palestinian terrorist who murdered a 24-year-old Jewish visitor to Joseph’s Tomb in Samaria “constitutes a double blow to the [victim’s] family,” their attorney stated.

The Samaria military court sentenced Nawaf Fad to six years in prison on Tuesday for his role in the 2011 shooting at Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus (Shechem) that injured four Israelis and killed 24-year-old Ben-Yosef Livnat.

Fad was acquitted of murder charges due to reasonable doubt, but was convicted of obstruction of justice for having tampered with evidence by rearranging stones and backpacks scattered at the scene of the shooting.

Former Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, who is also the deceased victim’s aunt, expressed outrage at the military court’s verdict:

“In an inconceivable manner, the verdict acquitted Ben-Yosef’s murderer. The court showed incredible empathy towards the assassin.  The family was shocked to hear the verdict, which contains a series of serious and inexplicable mistakes,” said Livnat.

Livnat further argued that the judges reached conclusions that the defendant’s defense did not even raise at trial and that they blatantly ignored conflicting testimonies and an explicit confession by the defendant. “I truly believe that the appeal that will be submitted will allow the truth to come to light,” she contended.

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In 2011, Palestinian Authority police opened fire on a three-car convoy of Jewish worshippers traveling to pray at Joseph’s Tomb.

After the incident, Palestinian security forces arrested the four policemen who had been responsible for the overnight security of the compound and who were involved in the shooting. Palestinian sources claimed that the police had ordered the worshippers not to approach the tomb without coordination and that the order was ignored and thus the Palestinians first fired in the air and then at the car itself.

In May 2013, the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (ISA) arrested three of the policemen after they were released from PA custody. According to the ISA, the three suspects had coordinated their versions of the story so that they would all claim that they believed themselves to be under attack and thus justified in opening fire.

Attorney Haim Bleicher of the Honenu legal organization echoed Livnat and claimed that the acquittal of the defendant had no basis in the evidence and the facts presented in court.

“The defendant explicitly admitted that he had shot at the victim’s car and even admitted that he had hit him,” explained Bleicher.  “In addition, a bullet was found in the victim’s vehicle that matched the shooting trajectory described by the defendant in his confession.”

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Bleicher also criticized the court’s behavior towards the family.

“The court and the judges after the verdict were impervious to and ignored the murder victim’s family and their rights as victims,” lamented Bleicher. “The judges tried to distance the murder victim’s family from the case despite the fact that it is also clear in the verdict that the terrorist played an active part in the murder and in tampering with the evidence.”

“This constitutes a double blow to the family, one by the terrorist and a second time by the judges’ misconduct,” he concluded.

By: Ilana Messika/TPS