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A settler who shot and killed four Palestinians in the West Bank in an attempt to scuttle Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip last year was convicted Monday in the Jerusalem District Court on four counts of murder.
Asher Weisgan, 38, of Shvut Rachel, who had subsequently called for the assassination of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, had been found mentally fit to stand trial by a psychiatrist who examined him under court order.
"The basic prohibition of 'Thou shall not murder,' which is part of the Ten Commandments... reflects the minimum of legal norms of all of humanity," the three-judge panel headed by Judge Moshe Ravid wrote in their unanimous ruling.
A driver who transported Palestinian laborers, Weisgan grabbed a gun from a security guard at the end of the work day last August after asking him for a drink of water, and then opened fire at the workers in his car at close range, killing three instantly and mortally wounding a fourth who died later on the operating table at Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Hospital at Ein Kerem.
The four-page charge sheet calls the shooting rampage near Shilo "cold-blooded and premeditated" murder.
The indictment says that the attacker systematically sprayed five or six bullets at each of his victims, whom he knew well, at one point even refilling his spent cartridge as he sought out his last victim.
As he lay wounded, one of the Arab victims, who was bleeding from a bullet that skimmed his face, shouted at the attacker: "Asher, what are you doing?" the charge sheet relates, only to be met by another hail of bullets, which narrowly missed him.
The assailant then went after a fifth victim back at work, the indictment reads, repeatedly shooting him at close range and then verifying he was dead before finally turning himself in to a settlement security guard.
"The accused, who was vehemently opposed to the disengagement plan, decided near the start [of its implementation] to act to thwart it, hoping that his actions will stop the plan and will also encourage other people to act in a similar way," the indictment states.
"Internal voices called on the accused once and again to not only think about himself and his family, but about the entire nation, and carry out an act of self-sacrifice in order to prevent the disaster," defense attorney Asher Ohayon said.
A father of two, Weisgan, who lived a secular life in a predominantly religious settlement, has since appeared in court donning a skullcap. He has refused to express remorse for his actions.
Weisgan will be sentenced at a later date.
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