Three brothers, settlers and members of a six-person Jewish terror cell, were sentenced Thursday to prison terms ranging from 32 months to five years for their part in hate crimes committed against Palestinians in 2014 and 2015.
They were convicted of a series of "price tag" felonies, which took place in the Gush Talmonim area near Ramallah—including torching vehicles, throwing Molotov cocktails and gas grenades at homes and aggravated assault—as a form of revenge for attacks against Israeli citizens perpetrated by Palestinians during that time, such as the murder of Na’ama and Eitam Heinkin.
The trial of the three other members of the cell is still ongoing.
The suspects confessed to the crimes attributed to them and have even reenacted several of the incidents. They admitted that their objective was to sow fear and panic among the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and to send a message to the Israeli public and security forces.
One of the defendants, who was a 16-year-old minor at the time the crimes were committed, was convicted as part of a plea bargain of membership in a terrorist organization, arson, assault under aggravated circumstances motivated by racism, sabotage with aggravated intent and other offenses. The court sentenced him to five years in prison.
Another defendant, who was a soldier at the time of the offenses, was convicted of arson, vandalism with racist motives, assault under aggravated circumstances motivated by racism and other offenses. The court sentenced him to 4.5 years in prison.
A third defendant was convicted of offenses that resulted in malicious damage stemming from racist motives, stone-throwing at vehicles and other offenses, and the court sentenced him to 32 months in prison.
The defendants were also required to pay an agreed-upon compensation of NIS 50,000 to their victims.
The Central District Attoney's Office said the crimes were "motivated by racism and directed against Palestinians and their property, solely because of their religious or national affiliation," adding the case "exemplifies the determination of the law enforcement authorities to eliminate violent acts, especially when they constitute acts of terror and on a clearly nationalistic background."
The attorney who represents the three, Sonia Harizi Moses of the right-wing legal aid organization Honenu, claimed the conviction "did not take into account (the fact that) the defendants, who are all related, were minors at the time of most of the offenses (were carried out) and underwent a difficult time in their lives that I cannot divulge," and that no lives were harmed by their actions.
"The verdict is very strict and we intend to consider an appeal to the Supreme Court," she added.
Yesh Din, a left-wing legal NGO that represents some of the victims in the case, responded by asserting it is "a miracle" that lives were not harmed by the three's actions, which they referred to as "Jewish terrorism," noting the court's decision to convict them of membership in a terror organization.