Hamas Members of al-Kassam brigades 311 R.
(photo credit:REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)
In a majority ruling on Wednesday, the Supreme Court reduced the prison term of
a man convicted of committing security offenses from 12 years to 10.
appellant, whose name was not released, was convicted under a plea bargain in
the Beersheba District Court in 2008 after admitting charges of being active in
a terror organization, attempted murder and providing services to an illegal
organization. However, the plea bargain did not include any deal regarding
According to the indictment, in 2006, the appellant joined
the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(DFLP), and was tasked with recruiting others to take part in military
activities. The appellant observed IDF troop movements in Gaza and on the Gaza
border, as part of a plot to kill IDF soldiers by planting and detonating a 25
kg. explosive device. The appellant planted the charger, but later removed it at
the DFLP’s behest.
The appellant also agreed to pass details of IDF
activities to Ziad Abu Khalib, the member of Hamas’s military wing responsible
for that terror group’s rocket unit in Gaza. He told Abu Khalib that he did not
see any troop movements in the region.
The appellant said that his prison
term was disproportionately harsh compared with other cases. His lawyer, Lea
Tsemel, argued among other things that the court should distinguish between
terror activities directed against the State of Israel from those intended to
harm armed soldiers.
Justices Miriam Naor and Elyakim Rubinstein held the
majority opinion, ruling to accept the appeal and reduce the appellant’s
sentence by two years.
Naor said that the appellant’s actions were
“severe” but noted he had not actually reported troop movements to Hamas and
that since planting the explosives in 2006 had not carried out any acts of equal
However, Justice Neal Handel held the minority view, and said
the prison sentence should not be reduced.
“The appellant was convicted
on his own admission to belonging to two terror groups,” Handel said, noting
that although the appellant had returned the explosive charges he planted to the
PFLP before it detonated, he had only done so at the behest of the terror
“He did not [return the explosive charge] out of moral
regret – i.e. because he recognized the severity of his actions – or out of
remorse, but only under orders from his organization,” Handel continued. “That
organization had its own considerations.
Remorse was not one of them.”
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