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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Israelis get of manslaughter for transporting suicide bomber

A less than desirable example of Jewish-Arab cooperation.

Israelis convicted of manslaughter for transporting suicide bomber
By Nir Hasson, Haaretz Correspondent

Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday convicted three Israeli citizens of manslaughter for transporting the suicide bomber who struck outside Netanya's HaSharon Mall in July 2005, killing five people and wounding over 90.
Shani Saif Azzam of Taibeh, Abd Abu Mukh of Baka al-Garbiyeh and Kfir Levi of Ramat Gan were also convicted of causing injury to those wounded in the attack.
Azzam and Levi were found to have assisted the terrorist cross the Green Line to Taibeh, from which point Abu Mukh transported him to Netanya.
In the past, defendants in similar cases have been convicted of lesser violations such as accessory to murder or causing death by negligence.
The prosecution said in the indictment that each of the three defendants suspected at a certain point that the passenger intended to carry out a bombing, but failed to act to prevent it.
The defendants claimed in response that they had no way of knowing that the passenger was a terrorist.
Azzam and Levi said they believed the bomber and the man who sent him, who also rode in the vehicle, were entering Israel to commit theft. Abu Mukh said he transported the men to Netanya as a favor to a friend.
Judges accepted the prosecution's argument that the men must have suspected the motives of their passengers, due to the fact that while the three had smuggled Palestinians illegally into Israel in the past, this was the first time they transferred only two people in a vehicle capable of carrying 10 people.
In addition, the terrorist and his handler paid a fee five times that usually paid by those seeking illegal entry to Israel.
Azzam said in testimony that at one point he even expressed interest in the bomber's bag.
He opened one of the packages, he said, a large bag containing clothing. He then tried to open the second but encountering resistance from the man who sent the bomber, who claimed it contained instruments for breaking into buildings.
Judges viewed this exchange as proof that Azzam suspected the man to be a terrorist, but did nothing to stop him.
Levi and Azzam had also been warned against transporting terrorists in the past - Levi by his brother and Azzam by the Shin Bet.
The judges, lead by Oded Modrik, said in their statement that the convicted "turned a blind eye to the circumstances that led to the fatal attack," including the large bag carried by the bomber and the fact that he did not speak while being driven to the site.
The State Prosecutor's Office expressed satisfaction with the ruling.

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