A farmer murdered last month on Moshav Pedaya was killed in a botched robbery by two West Bank Palestinians, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police said on Thursday, as the arrest of the two suspects was cleared for publication.
David Bar Kafra, 70, was beaten to death in a vineyard on the moshav on June 24 and already the next day the Shin Bet and police arrested the two Palestinians suspects, who were within the Green Line illegally; one of them worked for Bar Kafra months earlier.
On Thursday, the suspects were named as cousins Mujahd Dar Atzi and Alaa Dar Atzi, both aged 22 and residents of the village of Beit Likya near Ramallah.
The Shin Bet said that the two made their way across the Green Line the night before the murder, crossing at a checkpoint in the Jerusalem area and arriving in the area of Pedaya, in the Gezer region, around midnight.
They then slept overnight in a field and in the morning began staking out Bar Kafra’s farm, waiting for an opportunity to rob him.
Police said that around 11:30 a.m. on the day of the murder the two watched a man arrive at the farm and buy a load of grapes from Bar Kafra. After the man left they set upon Bar Kafra, accosting him in a vineyard and demanding money. A fight ensued and Bar Kafra was beaten repeatedly with a club and left bleeding in critical condition.
The two alleged killers fled the scene without stealing any money from Bar Kafra, who was pronounced dead later that evening.
Both men were arrested the day after the murder and confessed to the crime, reenacting the killing for investigators, police said Thursday. They have remained in custody since their arrest, which was cleared for publication only on Thursday.
The Shin Bet said that both men “are known for grassroots terrorist activities,” namely, throwing rocks at IDF troops patrolling their village.
Once the motive was determined to be robbery, the Shin Bet handed over the case to the police on July 1. Nevertheless, while the two men confessed that their motive was robbery, the Shin Bet said the crime is part of a wider context of violence directed at Israeli Jews during Ramadan. They added that it also shows the danger inherent in hiring illegal Palestinian laborers.