A military court set a legal precedent when it ruled that Palestinian Waal
al-Arjeh was guilty of murder for killing Asher Palmer, 25, and his infant son,
Yonatan, by throwing a stone at their vehicle, attorney Adrian Agassi told The
Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“It is the first time that a military court
has handed a verdict of murder for rock-throwing,” said Agassi, who prior to his
private practice served as a military judge for 10 years. “I cannot remember a
verdict like this.”
The ruling, which was issued by the Judea Military
Court on Tuesday, said that Arjeh had intentionally caused the death of Palmer
and his son.
According to the IDF, Arjeh and an accomplice, Ali Saadeh,
had intentionally thrown a stone from a moving taxi at Palmer’s
The stone broke the windshield and caused the car to
Agassi said that Arjeh had the right to an appeal and he was
certain he would use it.
“But I do not see that this ruling will be
overturned,” he added.
The ruling comes at a time when settlers in Judea
and Samaria are pushing for the IDF and the government to take the escalations
of rock-throwing against Israeli vehicles in the West Bank more
Initially, security forces thought Palmer and his son died in
a car accident on Route 60 outside the Kiryat Arba settlement on September 23.
It took days before the Defense Ministry recognized them as terror
According to Agassi, this was not an incident in which a random
small roadside stone was tossed. The object thrown at Palmer’s vehicle, he said,
was more like a block, in that it was 18 by 11 centimeters and five centimeters
“It was thrown from an oncoming vehicle that was traveling in the
At that velocity, it was like shooting a bullet,”
Arjeh was the ringleader of a gang that developed this
method to kill Jews, Agassi said. They had tried it many times before, he added.
The attorney said the defendant had worked for the Palestinian Authority
security forces and as a taxi driver, and knew the area roads very
On Tuesday, the court also charged Arjeh with 25 counts of
attempted murder. He has yet to be sentenced.
A verdict has yet to be
issued in the case against Saadeh. Agassi said technical matters held up his
Agassi said he believed the court would hand down a stiff sentence
of life imprisonment, so that Arjeh “would not see the light of day
“This is not just a personal win for Palmer’s family,” he
Verdicts such as this coupled with a stiff sentence are important
for Israeli deterrence against Palestinians who use stone throwing as a weapon
against Israelis, Agassi said.
“This was nothing less than terrorism and
we have to fight back with every legal method we can,” he said.
father, Michael, he said, was a brave man for fighting on his son’s behalf to
ensure justice was done.