Halamish terrorist convicted of 3 counts of murder
Omar al-Abed, who murdered three members of the Salomon family in July, enters hearing at Ofer Military Court with a wide smile on his face; victims' relatives break down in tears, say 'this is the face of the devil'; military prosecution seeks four life terms.
The Military Advocate General asked the court to sentence al-Abed to four life terms, one for each murder and a fourth one for the rest of the offenses —attempted murder, incitement and stone-throwing.
The terrorist entered the courtroom with a wide smile on his face. His parents were also present.
Dan Landa, the father of Elad Salomon's widow Michal, who saved her children after fleeing to the second floor with them, said during the hearing: "In a person's last moments before passing away, he sees before his eyes a face filled with love and compassion and feels the desire to ease his pain as much as possible. In their last moments, Yossi, Chaya and Elad saw the face of the devil, filled with hate and a passion to cause pain and suffering."
Orit Marcus, who lost her father and two of her siblings in the attack, brought to the courthouse pictures of her family members and said in tears: "I want to show you my entire family at a very special moment before the great disaster. We were a happy family, a close-knit family, a family of a lot of warmth and love," she said.
"My parents were among the founders of the community, and the house in Halamish was a uniting house, a place filled with community life. This house has turned into a place filled with memories and pain, a very difficult trauma, a great loss and bereavement.
"Three people were murdered in cold blood and there was an attempt to murder Mother, Michal and the five children. This is such a despicable and cruel act, that we have asked that the murderer receive the death penalty, or at least the maximum penalty for all his acts. Such a villain has no right to see the light of day, to breath, to eat."
Chen Salomon, the wife of Yosef's son Shmuel, spoke about the ongoing nightmares: "We are afraid to bring more children into this cruel world. We feel forgotten. We are alone in this battle, with no help from the state.|
"It must be legitimate to lose a father and two siblings a day after your eldest son is born. I had no option of stopping for a moment to recover, like any woman who gives birth, enjoying the joy that entered our family or letting myself break down. I'm simply trying to remain strong for my husband, my family and my child, because I know my baby doesn’t deserve to carry all this pain on his shoulders."
After the court hearing, the family members criticized the prosecution for not demanding the death penalty. "We understand we're being toyed with. They're talking and talking, but not really doing what needs to be done. They could have picked up the phone and demanded it. The prime minister and defense minister were at the shiva and explicitly told us that they would work on it, that it could be promoted."
Earlier Wednesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted: "A life sentence is the only proper punishment for such a despicable act. I call on the judges to demonstrate their courage and sentence the terrorist to death. Jewish blood isn't cheap! There is no room for terrorists, not even in our prisons."
In comments written ahead of the discussion, which have been obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth, the three family members talk about the pain the family has been dealing with since the disaster and ask the judges to sentence the terrorist to the maximum penalty. The family members are receiving legal assistance from the Im Tirtzu organization.
"The Salomon family sat there, celebrating the arrival of new life, and the house was filled with light. And the light and innocent joy infuriated the devil's son. Into the house burst the murderer, a black soul filled with a passion for murder, waiting for the moment it could kill and crush," Michal Salomon's father wrote.
"Michal told us about the murderer's smiling face, which she saw as he broke into the house. A happy face indicating that this is not a believer about to fulfill a difficult duty, but an impulsive person eager to satisfy his passion. The villain raised the knife, stabbed and stabbed and couldn’t get enough of the bloodshed. If he hadn't been stopped by the bullet fired from soldier A.'s gun, we would be facing 10 graves today.
"My daughter, Michal, who was torn from the second half of her soul, who lost her loved one and the champion of her youth, has been left without a friend to share her joys and hopes with, without his support and encouragement at times of distress, without a supporter in the daily tasks of raising a family. She has been left with the sounds of pain, with the terrible image of her loved one, Elad, taking his last breaths. With the memory of horrible moments in which she didn't know if the murderer's knife would reach her and her children as well. The murderer's knife keeps beating again and again, wounding the heart, at the Kiddush table and during holidays and birthdays and every child's first day at school and the visit to the playground."
In their comments, the family members also spoke about the courage of Elad Salomon, who fought the terrorist before succumbing to his wounds. "Elad demonstrated great courage when he attacked the armed terrorist empty-handed and fought him until he was defeated, thereby allowing his wife Michal to get her children out of the room and hindering the terrorist," Landa wrote.
Orit Marcus, who lost her father and two of her siblings in the attack, wrote: "With a single blow, the terrorist entered the house, stabbed Chaya and she escaped outside, then moved on to Mother, stabbed and inflicted serious wounds on her, and then moved on to Father. Mother saw Father falling to the ground and Elad fighting the damn terrorist, who kept stabbing Father and Elad mercilessly.
"Michal, Elad's wife took the children to the second floor, rescuing both her life and theirs. Exhausted, Mother went up to the second floor, wounded and bleeding. Chaya, who had run outside, began yelling, and the neighbor arrived and shot and neutralized the terrorist, stopping him from pursuing his killing spree. Chaya, who was seriously wounded, didn't make it and died."