Palestinian who murdered Israeli woman sentenced to life in prison

A Palestinian who violently murdered a pregnant Israeli woman was convicted on terrorism charges and sent to prison for life. 

By: Yona Schnitzer/TPS

Mohammed Harouf, a Palestinian resident of Nablus who murdered Michal Halimi in May, with whom he was involved in a “personal relationship,” was sentenced to life in prison by the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday. Kharouf was also ordered to pay Halimi’s family NIS 258,000 in damages.

As part of a plea bargain, Harouf admitted to the murder and that his motives were nationalistic, even though the original indictment had not charged him with nationalistic motivations.

“Following the plea bargain, a revised indictment was submitted, in which the defendant plead guilty to the revised charges leveled against him and was prosecuted. According to the revised indictment, the defendant chose to murder [Halimi] based on nationalistic motives after a phone argument between the two took place,” the court ruling read.

“This is a cruel, brutal and horrific murder,” said Judge Ra’anan Ben Yosef, who criticized the fact that the defendant received a plea bargain despite the severe nature of the crime.

According to the indictment, Harouf had forged a personal relationship with the victim, who was a resident of the Binyamin region of Samaria, and decided to kill her for nationalistic reasons in May.

Three days later, the victim traveled to the Yamit 2000 water park in Holon, where Harouf was employed as a gardener and custodian. Harouf is believed to have strangled the victim to death, and to have ensured that she was dead by smashing her head and body with cement blocks, before stealing her credit cards and automobile and fleeing to the Arab-Israeli city of Taybe. He then tried to sell the stolen car inside the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Halimi was pregnant at the time of the murder. Her body was found some two months later, buried in sand dunes outside the city of Holon.

Following the sentencing, Halimi’s mother said that “it was clear to us that the murder had nationalist motivations even before the indictment, and now the court confirmed that. This [ruling] brings the truth to light. Today we can say that justice for Michal was served.”