Supreme Court 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Supreme Court refused on Monday an appeal by Abbas al-Sayed, the senior
Hamas operative and mastermind behind the 2002 suicide bombing in Netanya’s Park
Hotel and the 2001 Sharon shopping mall terror attack, in which 35 Israelis died
and hundreds more were wounded.
Al-Sayed was convicted in 2006 in the Tel
Aviv District Court and sentenced to 35 consecutive life sentences for
premeditated murder, plus an additional 50 years for causing grievous bodily
harm with aggravated intent and for membership in a terrorist
He had appealed against that conviction on the grounds that
the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and police had exercised undue force. As a
result, al-Sayed claimed, his admissions during his interrogations were not
The Hamas leader also complained that he had been kept in
handcuffs during his interrogations and that he had been held in a tiny cell
without running water.
However, the panel of three Supreme Court
Justices, Neal Hendel, Edmund Levi and Hanan Melzar, said that the Hamas
military leader had “stopped at nothing in his plans to murder Jews and Israelis
because of their identity, religion and nationality.”
Justice Neal Hendel
recalled that that the Park Hotel bombing took place as people celebrated the
Passover Seder, “as a community of brotherhood, kindness and spiritual
“Can you imagine a greater disparity between that lofty
idealism and the harsh reality?” Hendel said, who also recalled that the haggada
the Park Hotel terror victims had been reading at the Passover Seder said that
“in every generation they stand up against us to destroy us.”
indictment originally filed against al-Sayed revealed that he had planned in
painstaking detail every aspect of the terror attacks.
served as a leader of Hamas’s military wing in Tulkarem, when in 2001 he and
several other Hamas activists began to plot a series of suicide attacks that
would kill a large number of Israelis.
From his terror cell in Tulkarem,
al-Sayed procured explosive belts, intended to be used by suicide
bombers. He also recruited men to carry out the bombings and hired
drivers to take them to Israel. Several of al-Sayed’s initial attempts to enter
Israel and carry out the attacks failed, but on March 27 2002, al-Sayed
succeeded in dispatching a suicide bomber, Abdel-Basset Odeh, into the center of
First, however, al-Sayed helped Odeh write his will, and then
made a video of him reading it.
Disguised in woman’s clothing, under
which was an explosive belt, Odeh was driven first to Herzliya, then to Tel
Aviv. He then decided to carry out the bombing in a Netanya hotel.
detonated his explosive belt in Netanya’s Park Hotel as guests gathered for a
Passover Seder. Thirty Israelis including several Holocaust survivors were
murdered in the blast, and 140 more injured, many seriously in what was the
deadliest terror attack of the Second Intifada.
The indictment also
details how al-Sayed also planned and masterminded another suicide bombing in
Netanya’s Sharon Mall.
In addition to his role in planning the attacks,
al- Sayed was also convicted of membership in Hamas. As part of his duties as
the head of Hamas’s military wing, he communicated with Hamas leadership in
Syria, and received tens of thousands of dollars to finance Hamas’s activities,
including purchasing arms, explosive belts and chemicals to manufacture
In February 2002, al-Sayed procured a bottle of cyanide, and
intended to use the deadly poison in another attack he was planning, according
to the indictment.
However, the Supreme Court dismissed al-Sayed’s claims
that he had been mistreated and instead accepted the state’s testimony that he
had confessed of his own free will.
Al-Sayed’s involvement in Hamas and
in planning the attacks was also backed up by extensive and detailed evidence,
which had included cell phone records and testimony of others involved in
planning the attacks, the justices said.
Al-Sayed provoked public outrage
last year at the start of his Supreme Court appeal, when he said in an interview
with Ynet that he felt no remorse for his part in the suicide attacks, which he
said were a justified way of “fighting the occupation.”
increased after Arabic language daily al- Hayat reported in March that
Palestinian Minister of Prison Affairs Issa Qaraqeh had presented al-Sayad’s
family with a plaque honoring the anniversary of the Park Hotel bombing.