Settler sentenced to 18 months for attacking Palestinian

Zvi Struck, who denied charges against him, convicted for abducting and assaulting 15-year-old Palestinian boy in 2007.

March 27, 2011 18:12
2 minute read.
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The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced Zvi Struck to 18 months in prison for abducting and assaulting a 15-year-old Palestinian in July 2007.

Struck was convicted on two counts in November. In one he was found guilty of beating the boy with the butt of his rifle after chasing him down with his all-terrain vehicle in an open field near his home in the outpost of Esh Kodesh, near Shilo. In the other, he was convicted of slapping and beating the boy and of killing a baby goat from the flock the boy was tending.

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In the trial, Struck denied the charges, but Judge Amnon Cohen preferred the boy’s testimony, which was backed by physical evidence at the scene, over his.

Following the conviction, Struck’s lawyers asked for a lenient sentence, arguing that Struck was a law-abiding citizen with no prior convictions, and a father of three young children who depended on him. Struck’s lawyers also noted that Struck looked after his brother, who had been disabled during his military service.

The defense also brought in character witnesses to testify on Struck’s behalf.

The witnesses all testified to Struck’s gentle nature and his history of mediating between law enforcement agencies and local residents.

The prosecution stressed the severity of the injuries suffered by the boy and the repetitious nature of the two offenses in its arguments for an extended prison sentence.

The judge wrote in his ruling that he was deeply shocked by the severity of the injuries. He also stated that the testimony of the character witnesses failed to line up with the facts of the case and that anything short of an active prison sentence would defeat the desired effect of the punishment.

Struck was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a year on probation and ordered to pay the boy NIS 50,000 in compensation.

Struck’s lawyer requested that the start of the sentence be postponed to give him time to appeal.

Struck’s mother, Orit Struck who chairs the Judea and Samaria human rights organization, said the sentence rewarded “the lies of the Arabs, who are fighting a nationalist battle against the Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria.”

“The judge preferred the testimony of the prosecution witness, who is a currently standing trial for throwing Molotov cocktails, over that of Zviki Struck, a farmer with no criminal record, who all the character witnesses said was a gentle, responsible and law-abiding citizen,” said Orit Struck.

“The judge chose to ignore the fact that the complainant’s father is a police officer in the Palestinian Authority and that he brought in the witnesses and served as interpreter in their investigations. Judge Cohen turned a farmer, who is a father of three, into a scapegoat in the nationalistic battle waged by the Arabs against the farmers in Judea and Samaria.”

Yesh Din, which advocates for Palestinian rights and assisted the boy in the case, said this is one of the rare instances in which the law enforcement authorities were able to bring a case to conviction.

“According to Yesh Din data, 90 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians against Israelis who harmed them or their property end with the cases being closed due to investigation failures,” the group said in a statement.

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