IDF indicts 3 Palestinians for murder of Ben Zion, originally believed to be car collision

Ben Zion was found badly injured on the side of a West Bank road at the start of December, and survived until the next day, in an incident that originally left investigators baffled.

January 7, 2015 19:29
2 minute read.

Israeli soldiers check cars at a checkpoint near the West Bank City of Jericho. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The IDF Prosecution filed an indictment late Tuesday with the Salem Military Court against three Palestinians for the murder with nationalistic motivations of Avi Ben Zion and the theft of his car last month.

Family members and supporters of Ben Zion, 68 from Netiv Hagdud, some 20 km. north of Jericho, loudly proclaimed that the indictment's charge of murder with nationalistic motivations proved that he was a terror victim.

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The three Palestinians were identified in a statement by supporters of the family as Amir Jabar, Nidbar Kattab and Muhammad Jama'a.

Ben Zion was found badly injured on the side of a West Bank road at the start of December, and survived until the next day, in an incident that originally left investigators baffled.

He was airlifted in an IDF helicopter to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva from the Alon junction suffering from severe head injuries, and died the next day. His family was said to be donating his organs, according to the Israel Transplant Center.

Police described the incident at the time as a hit-and run, but eventually changed to investigating it as a criminal incident such as a traffic accident, a botched robbery that ended with an assault or a terrorist attack.

A statement by the organization Honeinu described the indictment, which has not been publicly distributed, as saying that the three Palestinians had followed Ben Zion in their car, seeking to rob a Jew. Next, they purposely rear-ended him to get him to pull over and to lure him out of the car.

Once he left his car, one of the Palestinians sprayed his eyes, while the others began stealing his car and getting back into their vehicle to make an escape.

In the process of the escape and making a U-turn, one of the cars struck Ben Zion, causing most of his injuries, after which the three fled with both cars from the scene.

The Honeinu statement also described how the three disassembled and sold off parts of Ben Zion's car.

The investigation was eventually taken over by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), police said.

Ben-Zion’s daughter wrote a Facebook post shortly after the incident in which she said that her father was killed in a terrorist attack.

“Yesterday at 2 p.m., terrorists attacked him at Alon junction. He stopped at the junction, they attacked him, pulled him out of the car and beat him on the head till he was in critical condition and then fled,” she wrote.

After the incident, IDF troops and Israel Police officers fanned across the West Bank looking for the suspects, setting up checkpoints in an attempt to locate them.

Within a relatively short time, detectives from the Judea and Samaria police district backed up by IDF troops arrested the three Palestinians in the village of Kabalan in the West Bank. The next day, the Almagor Terror Victims Association also called on Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to recognize the West Bank incident which left an Israeli man dead, an act of terror.

The NGO, which advocates for terror victims’ rights, sent a letter to the Defense Ministry on Tuesday, urging the immediate recognition of the car collision as an act of terrorism.

Ben Hartman, Judy Siegel and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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