2 'spying settlers' sentenced for 'war room' op

Settlers admit to running "war room" to track IDF movements in order to block any military actions to demolish illegal outposts.

June 27, 2013 16:29
1 minute read.
Mosque in Abdullah Ibrahim behind houses in West Bank Jewish settlement of Efrat, December 2011.

Efrat settlement 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner )

Two of the five “spying settlers,” Elad Meir and David Eliyahu, were convicted in a plea bargain on Thursday of running a “war room” to track military movements and block any IDF actions to demolish illegal outposts.

They were sentenced to 220 hours of community service each.

The sentences were much more lenient than originally expected, according to previous statements by the prosecution.

Two other “spying settlers” were sentenced on June 9 to 91 days in prison each, while the fifth is expected to get a longer combined sentence in the future in connection with a separate case against him.

The settlers – Meir, Eliyahu, Akiva Hacohen, Ephraim Moshe Chaykin and Meir Ettinger – were convicted of charges that included providing to others military information about the IDF, conspiracy to commit a felony and disturbing law enforcement.

Originally, the prosecution hoped to convict the five of spying and of masterminding and coordinating an attack against the Ephraim Brigade base near Kedumim in December 2011, during which 50 activists shocked the nation by storming the base, attacking the deputy brigade commander, burning tires, spreading nails on a road and throwing stones and paint bottles at vehicles.

Against that backdrop, the proposed sentences under the plea agreement – three to five months in prison for some of the activists and only community service for others – were far more lenient than expected.

Asked why, the State Attorney’s Office previously responded that it was due to the evidentiary and litigation complications, balanced with sending an unequivocal message that the actions were criminal.

The settlers’ attorneys, on the other hand, previously said the state had seen reason, realizing it had no proof.

According to the indictment that the settlers admitted to as part of the plea agreement, active soldiers from the Golani and other brigades as well as nonsoldiers passed on information to the settlers regarding military movements, via text messages and cellphones.

The activists set up a “war room” and operated a hotline in an apartment they shared in Jerusalem, which had classified aerial maps and information about deployments and movements of troops, as well as other classified information.

The Ephraim Brigade incident was the most serious in a series of so-called “price tag” attacks by right-wing activists against Palestinians and the IDF at the time.

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