Asher Palmer, 25, and his 1-year-old son, Yehonatan, were killed Friday when their car overturned near Kiryat Arba. After an initial inquiry, the police ruled out the possibility that the accident had been caused by stones that were hurled at the vehicle by Palestinians.
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But an examination of the father's body revealed fractures to his skull. "It was clearly a terrorist attack, Asher's gun had been stolen, there were rocks inside the vehicle and it was clear Asher was hit by a rock," Palmer's family said after police informed them of their conclusion that the incident was in fact the result of a terror attack.
Car that overturned, killing father and son (Photo: Eliad Levy)
Aharon Peretz, Palmer's brother-in-law, estimated that the police did not announce the incident was the result of a terror attack so as not to "fan the flames." He added: It's very grave that it comes at the expense of a grieving family." The family also claims that in addition to the handgun, Asher's wallet had also been stolen.
Peretz said of his brother-in-law, "He never fought with anyone. He was a quiet and special man and this is a great loss." Asher and Yehonatan Peretz will be laid to rest in Hebron later on Sunday.
Earlier, police motioned to perform an autopsy on the two bodies but the judge accepted the family's rejection. The State then appealed to the High Court of Justice on the matter, but prior to the hearing a compromise was reached whereby only blood samples would be taken from the bodies.
MK Michael Ben Ari criticized the police for its conduct in the affair. "The police spokesperson's office is serving Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) over fear of violent protests and did not report this as a terror attack."
Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan also slammed the IDF Spokesperson's Office for not explicitly stating that the deaths of Asher Palmer and his infant son in Kiryat Arab last Friday were the result of a terror attack. "There's no other way to put this, the IDF did not tell the truth to the public, the media or the bereaved family," he claimed.
"I am angry and deeply disappointed in the IDF, its commanders and spokesmen who covered up the murder. The IDF chose a dishonest, unwise and indecent path," he exclaimed.
"Nothing creates a worse atmosphere than the feeling one isn't being told the whole truth. The difference between the police's statement to the court and the initial IDF and police statements to the media is very disconcerting," Dayan said, and demanded the publication of a report with all the inquiry details.
Investigators who arrived on the scene of the crash Friday found a hole in the car's windshield that appears like it could have been an entry point of a stone.
A large, blood-stained stone was also found in the car. An analysis showed that it was human blood that stained the stone. The stirring wheel was torn, suggesting that it was hit by the rock.
Moreover, "The deceased's face was crushed in the region of the lip, which immediately raised concerns of the possibility that the car accident could have been caused by a rock that was thrown at the vehicle," the request read.
It was also mentioned that the accident was being investigated by a special Hebron District police force that deals with incidents where rocks are pelted at Israeli vehicles from moving cars. So far, there have been 18 such cases, and it appeared that the current case was no different.
Officials involved in the case said that the investigating authorities assume that it was an act of terror that lead to the father and son's deaths. "There are various indicators that do not match what would have happened if this was an accident," one official told Ynet.
'Police covering up murder'
From the start, settlement leaders claimed that a terror attack was behind the crash, assuming that the police denied the possibility, seeking to maintain public order.
"We demand the security forces to stop the occurrences of stone-throwing, which not only endangers lives but also offends the honor of the state and its citizens," the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, Malachi Levinger, said.
"We warn that if the security forces don't put an end to the phenomenon, citizens might find themselves in mortal danger and proceed to protect themselves by any means available.
"There are tens of thousands of Jews driving to Hebron to pray these days, and their safety must be protected," he added.
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) demanded that an investigation into the condcut of the Police Spokesman's Office is launched. "There is a concern that the police published a false press release in order to calm the mood, in line with the police's culture of lying," he said. "The Shai District commander should not be dealing with politics."
Kiryat Arba Councilman Bentzi Gupshtain said: "It's shocking to think that the Police Spokesman's Office could have covered up the murder of a baby and his father only to prevent 'price tag' response and a disruption to Netanyahu's speech. The time has come to look into the Israel Police."
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