Asher and Yonatan Palmer
Waal al-Araja in court
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Court convicts Palestinian of murder in Asher Palmer case
Ofer Base Military Court convicts Waal al-Araja of 2011 murder of Asher, Yonatan Palmer. Palmers were killed after al-Araja hurled stones at their car on Route 60
The Ofer Base Military Court convicted Tuesday Waal al-Araja, a member of the Palestinian security forces from Halhoul, of the murder of Asher Palmer and his infant son, Yonatan, in September 2011.


Al-Araja, who was throwing stones from a moving vehicle toward Palmer's car on Route 60, causing the father and son's death, was also convicted in connection with a series of attempted murders of a similar nature.


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His sentence will be given at a later date.

זירת הפיגוע בספטמבר 2011 (צילום: אליעד לוי)

The scene of the attack in 2011 (Photo: Eliad Levi)


The verdict is considered unusual in relation to stone hurling incidents where the Military Prosecution seldom files indictments for murder. The judges, Justice Amir Dahan, Justice Zeev Afiq and Justice Steve Berman noted in their decision that there has been no precedent in a similar case since the 1980s.


Al-Araja admitted to the crimes ascribed to him in both the interrogation and during the trial but claimed that he did not mean to kill the victims. In their verdict the judges noted that al-Araja was convicted of murder because it was proven that he intended to kill Jews and that he understood that throwing rocks could cause their deaths.


The verdict also revealed that at the time that the Palestinian terrorist committed his crimes, he was becoming an expert at hitting his targets and noticed the serious damages that were a result of stone hurling.


The judges further noted that al-Araja's associates boasted of their actions, called it Jihad and later claimed that they carried out the acts because "the settlers cursed the prophet Mohammad and burned mosques."


Asher Palmer's father who was present at the hearing, embraced those around him and cried when the verdict was read out. The family has already announced that it plans to sue Asher and Yonatan's killers for compensation.


The family attorney said Tuesday: "The court stated today very clearly that throwing rocks is murder, the war that Asher's father is fighting is a very big part of this and without his dedication and stubbornness we might not have gotten this result.


"We hope this case means that similar incidents will not occur, this is terror any way you look at it and it must be treated as such."


Police initially denied that stones had caused the accident but later concluded the incident was in fact a terror attack.



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