Michael Palmer at the Ofer military court 370.
(photo credit: JOANNA PARASZCZUK)
The late Asher Palmer’s father, Michael, on Wednesday morning will ask the Judea
Military Court for approximately NIS 10 million in damages against Waal
al-Arjeh, the convicted murderer of Asher and grandson Yonatan, sentenced to two
life sentences plus 58 years on April 23.
Palmer and lawyer Adrian Agassi
hope that such a large monetary judgment will block any future attempt to free
Arjeh in any prisoner release deal as well as setting a precedent for other
victims to follow to block their murderers from being released.
to Agassi, the monetary damages for a murder victim’s family in such cases are
equivalent to a special fine which, according to general legal principles, must
be paid off before prisoners can be released, regardless of the amount of time
they are sentenced to prison.
Agassi says that means that even if Israel
wanted to commute a prisoner like Arjeh’s sentence, someone (the Palestinians or
Israel) would need to foot the bill before the prisoner could be
If the bill is around NIS 10m., Agassi said, he believes it
might be intimidating enough to dissuade Israel and the Palestinians from
releasing a specific prisoner and may cause them to pass over to another
prisoner or a different issue.
He also said that due to some procedural
peculiarities regarding the status of the Military Courts, if the government
tried to sidestep such a fine, he might be able to bring in the High Court of
Justice to stop it.
Agassi noted that, “It’s more of a moral victory and
a statement of intent to all concerned – that we will fight them – the
terrorists and the morally bankrupt government of Israel – for justice, and make
it as hard as possible, legally and morally, to release terrorists – who then go
and return to terror – in the name of peace.”
Asher, 25, and his infant
son, Yonatan, were murdered in 2011. According to the IDF, Arjeh and an
accomplice, Ali Saadeh, intentionally threw a stone from a moving taxi through
the front windshield of Asher’s vehicle. The stone broke the windshield, causing
Asher to lose control of the car which eventually overturned.
security forces thought Palmer and his son died in a car accident on Route 60
outside the Kiryat Arba settlement on September 23, 2011. It took days before
the Defense Ministry recognized them as terror victims.
According to the
court, this was not an incident in which a random small roadside stone was
tossed. The object thrown at Asher’s vehicle was large and deadly.
was thrown from an oncoming vehicle that was traveling in the opposite
direction,” said Agassi, a former IDF military court judge. “At that velocity,
it was like shooting a bullet.”
Arjeh was the ringleader of a gang that
developed this method of killing Jews, Agassi said. They had tried it many times
before, he added. The attorney said the defendant had worked for the PA security
forces and as a taxi driver, and knew the roads in the area very
Arjeh and his lawyer have said they would appeal the conviction and
sentence at the Military Court of Appeals.