The trial of five Palestinians from Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood exposed the methods used to attack security forces and Jews who bought land and homes in the neighborhood.
The Jerusalem District Court sentenced the five youths (ages 19-23) to an imprisonment of 36-40 months for 11 different charges over a span of six months. They were convicted of making and throwing Molotov cocktails,
attempted arson of Jewish homes and stone-throwing.
Similar indictments are being filed against Palestinians from Silwan on an almost weekly basis. As part of the struggle against Jewish settlement in the neighborhood, the declared goal of all the accused in these cases is to cause Jews to leave.
The Jewish homes in Silwan are in close proximity to one another, and the well-known ones are Beit Yonatan, Beit Dvash and Beit Meyuchas.
Silwan riots (Archive Photo: AFP)
Border Guard officers are stationed there permanently and police and security patrols of the Jewish homes occur regularly.
According to the court, the accused had two objectives in mind: "Removing the Jewish residents from Silwan and preventing authorities from entering the neighborhood and enforcing the law within its confines."
According to the indictment, in January 2012, two of the accused ambushed a Border Guard
jeep and threw stones and self-made Molotov cocktails at it.
In another instance in the same month, two of the cell members – and with them two others who were not caught – went out on an operation to harm Jews living in the neighborhood. They purchased gas, made Molotov cocktails and threw them at the neighborhood's Jewish passersby.
In February 2012, the cell launched three similiar attacks. The first attack targeted Beit Yonatan in
an attempt to divert IDF attention from another incident occurring in the neighborhood.
In another instance, the police were the target, but because the patrol car did not arrive at the site of the planned ambush, the firebombs were hurled at the neighborhood's Jewish homes instead. In the third February incident, Beit Meyuchas was hit by Molotov cocktails.
In March 2012, the cell continued its activities and on two occasions perfected its maneuvers by placing an onlooker, while his friends threw Molotov cocktails on Jewish homes. In April, eight youths blocked the road and threw stones, Molotov cocktails and detonators from roofs onto a police force that arrived at the scene.
On Nakba Day in May, a number of convicts teamed up with other youths, divided up into cells and began attacking a number of targets: One group threw Molotov cocktails on Jewish homes in the neighborhood, a second group threw stones at police cars and the third group threw firebombs at police cars.
Following additional activity in the month of May – an attack on a vehicle with four Jewish security guards in it – four of the youths were arrested and eventually convicted.
Judge Yoram Noam gave his verdict on the cell members. They were convicted of attempted arson, aggravated battery, aggravated assault of a police officer, weapons production, rioting and more.
Judge Noam stressed that each of the defendants was convicted for numerous counts of Molotov cocktail-throwing. He noted the severity of the danger posed to residents and drivers in Silwan, the pre-meditation and the "ideological impetus at the foundation" of these crimes.
The judge took into account the ages of the accused, the fact that they confessed, the regret they expressed and the fact that save one, they are all first-time offenders.
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