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(photo credit: )
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the appeals of three men from the settlement of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion who were convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to between 12 and 15 years in jail.
The appeals had been submitted by Ofer Gamliel, Shlomo Dvir-Zeliger and Yarden Morag. They were found guilty in Jerusalem District Court of planting a bomb in a cart adjacent to an Arab girl's school in the A-Tur neighborhood on the Mount of Olives. The bomb was timed to explode in the morning, when the students were on their way to class.
Gamliel and Dvir-Zeliger, who first came up with the idea of the terrorist attack, were sentenced to 15 years each. Morag, who, after being detained for questioning at the site of the planned attack told police that he and Dvir-Zeliger had planted a bomb and helped the sapper defuse it, was sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Morag appealed against the sentence, while Gamliel and Dvir-Zeliger appealed both the conviction and the sentence.
Gamliel and Dvir-Zeliger claimed in court that they had deliberately attached a defective battery to the bomb so that it would not explode. They said they had not meant to kill anyone but to use the incident to deter Palestinian terrorists and attract media attention.
A panel of three Supreme Court justices - including retired Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and Deputy Supreme Court President Eliezer Rivlin - upheld the lower court's decision to reject the argument. The court ruled that the conspirators did not know the battery was defective.
They added that the prosecution had provided sufficient evidence to prove that both the actions of the defendants and their conscious intent had been to kill and wound Palestinians as an act of revenge for the deaths of Jews at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.
Beinisch, who wrote the decision, also rejected Gamliel's additional argument for acquittal on the grounds that he had regretted his earlier actions and had refused to participate in the actual planting of the bomb. She ruled that even after Gamliel had informed Dvir-Zeliger and Morag that he would not come with them to plant the bomb, he had provided them with oral and written instructions as to how to arm the device.
"The aim of the appellants, which miraculously was not achieved, was to cause the deaths of innocent school students and passers-by for no other reason than that they were Arabs," wrote Beinisch. "They did everything they could to fulfill their criminal aim... The punishments meted out to them are not light but they are also not too harsh given the deeds for which they were convicted."
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