Dec. 12, 2006
Supreme court rejects appeals of Bat Ayin gang members
By DAN IZENBERG
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the appeals of three men
from the settlement of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion who were convicted
of attempted murder and sentenced to between 12 and 15 years in jail.
The appeals had been submitted by Ofer Gamliel, Shlomo
Dvir-Zeliger and Yarden Morag. They were found guilty in
Jerusalem District Court of planting a bomb in a cart adjacent to
an Arab girl's school in the A-Tur neighborhood on the Mount of
Olives. The bomb was timed to explode in the morning, when the
students were on their way to class.
Gamliel and Dvir-Zeliger, who first came up with the idea of the
terrorist attack, were sentenced to 15 years each. Morag, who,
after being detained for questioning at the site of the planned
attack told police that he and Dvir-Zeliger had planted a bomb
and helped the sapper defuse it, was sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Morag appealed against the sentence, while Gamliel and
Dvir-Zeliger appealed both the conviction and the sentence.
Gamliel and Dvir-Zeliger claimed in court that they had
deliberately attached a defective battery to the bomb so that it
would not explode. They said they had not meant to kill anyone
but to use the incident to deter Palestinian terrorists and
attract media attention.
A panel of three Supreme Court justices - including retired
Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, Supreme Court President
Dorit Beinisch and Deputy Supreme Court President Eliezer Rivlin
- upheld the lower court's decision to reject the argument. The
court ruled that the conspirators did not know the battery was
They added that the prosecution had provided sufficient evidence
to prove that both the actions of the defendants and their
conscious intent had been to kill and wound Palestinians as an
act of revenge for the deaths of Jews at the hands of Palestinian
Beinisch, who wrote the decision, also rejected Gamliel's
additional argument for acquittal on the grounds that he had
regretted his earlier actions and had refused to participate in
the actual planting of the bomb. She ruled that even after
Gamliel had informed Dvir-Zeliger and Morag that he would not
come with them to plant the bomb, he had provided them with oral
and written instructions as to how to arm the device.
"The aim of the appellants, which miraculously was not achieved,
was to cause the deaths of innocent school students and
passers-by for no other reason than that they were Arabs," wrote
Beinisch. "They did everything they could to fulfill their
criminal aim... The punishments meted out to them are not light
but they are also not too harsh given the deeds for which they
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