Miriam Fuld, with her children Yakir and Natan in Kfar Etzion cemetery, the West Bank, 2018..
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
The trial of the alleged Palestinian murderer of American-Israeli Ari Fuld opened on Monday afternoon after a half-year delay and unprecedented spin-off dramas.
Fuld, 45, was stabbed in the upper back on September 16 outside the Gush Etzion shopping center by 17-year-old Palestinian, Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin of Yatta, South of Hebron.
However, following the quick indictment of Jabarin in October, the case was delayed for six months by two other major issues.
Initially, Jabarin’s lawyer was Tarek Barghut – until recently one of the more well-known lawyers for Palestinians in the IDF’s West Bank Courts.
However, Barghut was then surprisingly arrested by the IDF for what turned out to shockingly be full-fledged participation in terrorism and an array of shooting charges.
Barghut was finally indicted last week in one of the few cases of charges being brought against a prominent lawyer for Palestinians – who are normally off-limits.
When Barghut was first arrested, his wife was also arrested, and the community of lawyers for Palestinians viewed the arrests as crossing a red-line.
They went on strike and the entire IDF West Bank Courts system came to standstill.
Even once Barghut’s wife was released and Barghut himself started to cooperate with his interrogators, it took time for Jabarin’s new lawyer, Khaled Alaraj, to get up to speed on the case.
On Monday, Jabarin pleaded not guilty for the first time, though there have also been implications in prior procedural hearings that ongoing delays might imply negotiations toward a plea deal.
The next trial dates were set for July.
Prior to attacking Fuld with a 21-centimeter knife, Jabarin had scoped out the Ziv junction, Maarat Hamachpela (the Cave of the Patriarchs) near Hebron and a checkpoint near Beit Lehem as possible venues for his attack before settling on the Rami Levi.
Jabarin declined to attack at the Ziv junction because he could not find an IDF soldier at the cave because it was closed and at the Beit Lehem checkpoint as he was worried that nearby Palestinians might get caught up in his assault.
However, when he saw Fuld, he noticed that Fuld had his back to him and was distracted on a cellphone and decided to attack.
Mortally wounded, Fuld chased his Palestinian attacker, jumped over a short stone wall and shot and wounded him before he himself collapsed.
Fuld was evacuated to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds.
Jabarin, who was shot by Fuld and another armed civilian, was evacuated in moderate condition and fully conscious to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
Former IDF chief West Bank prosecutor Maurice Hirsch, a lawyer for Miriam Fuld, Ari’s widow, said that the evidence against Ari’s murderer “is unequivocal and includes video footage of the cold-blooded murder.”
Born in New York, Fuld, 45, immigrated to Israel in 1994.
The dual US-Israeli citizen lived in Efrat with his wife Miriam, and was the father of Tamar, 22, Naomi, 21, Yakir, 17, and Natan, 12.
He was a well-known activist and was among the most prominent American-Israeli Jews killed by terrorists in recent years.
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