The Haifa District Prosecution filed formal charges against 12 Shfaram residents involved in the lynching of army deserter Eden Natan Zada in 2005.
Natan Zada was beaten to death by a Shfaram mob after going on a murderous rampage in the northern Arab town, killing four people and wounded 22 others aboard a city bus.
- PM slams 'vile act by terrorist'
- Hundreds protest plan to indict Shfaram residents
- Three men charged with incitement after Shfaram murders acquitted
Seven suspects have been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, obstruction of justice and rioting. Five other suspects have been charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, obstruction of justice and rioting. The cases are to be heard by the Haifa magistrates' and district courts.
The Haifa District Prosecution said that hundreds of depositions were taken during the court of the four-year investigation, resulting in the arrest of 12 suspects, ages 23 to 50.
"The State Prosecutor's Office is continuing to make the victim into the guilty party," Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh said in response to the prosecution's move. "Instead of tracing the actions of the man who committed the massacre and his accomplices and bring them to justice, (the prosecution) is blaming the victim," he said.
Fellow Hadash MK Afou Agbaria said, "The residents of Shfaram should have been given a badge if honor instead of indictments for their heroic act. They protected the lives of the city's residents while placing their own lives at risk.
"The decision to indict serves as a green light to terrorists from the extreme right," he said, "this is another example of the courts' double standard. When the residents of Jerusalem took the law into their own hands and lynched the tractor driver they were handed citations and not indictments."
Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka called the action a "police provocation that sends the message that Arabs do not have a right to self-defense. We'll continue to demand the establishment of an objective inquiry committee tasked with exposing who was behind Zada's act," he said.
Ahmed Hamdi, chairman of the Shfaram committee established in the wake of Zada's attack, said "this decision sets us back. This man (Zada) entered our city with the intent to kill, and he killed four residents in cold blood. He would have killed 50 if he had the chance.
"The young men who were indicted merely protected themselves in the face of the terrorist's attack. I call for the case to be closed. Continuing to deal with it will reopen a wound that hasn’t fully healed," he said.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report