Light sentence in Temple Mount murders sparks anger

Amjad Jabarin was convicted of providing material aid to three terrorists who shot two police officers to death near the Temple Mount in 2017.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Haifa’s District Court sentenced Amjad Jabarin on Wednesday to 16 years in prison and levied a half-million shekel fine for his major role in helping three terrorists kill two police officers near the Temple Mount two years ago.

The Arab-Israeli from Umm al-Fahm was convicted of aiding and abetting murder, operating a weapon for terror purposes, conspiracy to commit a crime and obstruction of justice.

The three-judge panel unanimously agreed with the prosecution that Jabarin had helped plan the attack and hide two Carlo-style submachine guns and a pistol in the Mount’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on the morning of July 14, 2017.

A relative of one of the men and a friend of the two others, who all came from his hometown, Jabarin also drove them to the bus that took them to the Old City that early Friday morning.

After retrieving their guns from the mosque, the three Israeli Arabs opened fire at a group of Israeli Border Police standing near the Lion’s Gate of the Old City.

Druze officers Haiel Sitawe, 30, a five-year veteran, and Kamil Shnaan, a 22-year-old who had joined the force out of high school, died of their wounds within hours of the shooting. Another officer was lightly injured by shrapnel in the neck, arms and hands.

Sitawe left behind a wife and three-week old son. Shnaan, who was the son of former Labor Party MK Shachiv Shnaan, had been planning to get engaged later that week.

After the sentencing, Shachiv Shnaan was angry that Jabarin was not given life in prison for his actions. He was, however, ordered to pay each of his dead victims’ families NIS 278,000 in compensation in addition to the jail time.

Immediately after the attack, the terrorists fled toward one of the mosques in the Temple Mount complex and were killed in a shootout with police.

In the aftermath of the attack, the government decided to install metal detectors and security cameras at the entrances to the Temple Mount, which it then took down after several days of Arab protests, violent clashes with police, and a diplomatic incident with Jordan.