Palestinian terrorist indicted in murder of Esther Horgen

Mohammad Maroh Kabaha smashed her head repeatedly with a large rock.

Esther Horgen, murdered 30 days ago, with her arms outstretched, embracing the world (photo credit: COURTESY HORGEN FAMILY)
Esther Horgen, murdered 30 days ago, with her arms outstretched, embracing the world
The IDF Prosecution filed an indictment for murder against Palestinian Mohammad Maroh Kabaha on Thursday for the murder of Esther Horgen on December 20.
According to the six-count indictment in Salem Military Court, Kabaha planned the attack some six weeks in advance. One reason was to avenge the death of his friend Camal Abu Wae’r, a Palestinian prisoner who fell sick and died in jail.
The indictment said that at first Kabaha, 40, wanted to carry out a shooting attack against IDF soldiers, and even carried out surveillance of IDF units. However, he eventually dropped that plan when he learned that purchasing a weapon would be too expensive.
Looking for a place to carry out an attack against more vulnerable Israeli civilians, Kabaha went through a hole in the security barrier and found that a number of Israelis took strolls in the Reihan forest.
On December 20, while smuggling cigarettes with acquaintances in the forest near the fence, he left them to pick mushrooms near Tel Menashe, where he spotted 52-year-old Esther Horgen walking alone.
When their eyes met, she tried to run away and scream but he caught her 15 meters away and threw her to the ground, where she hit her head on a rock.
After pinning her body so that she could not resist, he allegedly smashed her head repeatedly with a large rock until she was dead. He then dragged her body a few meters to a more concealed spot to give himself more time to flee before her body was found.
Kabaha then went home, showered, changed his clothes and fled into the hills.
The IDF Prosecution has said that Kabaha confessed to the crime, reenacted it, and even helped them locate Horgen’s cell phone that he had tossed aside.
At a hearing regarding Kabaha’s detention, the defense did not try to seek bail.
The High Court of Justice approved the IDF’s request on Wednesday to demolish both the second and third floors of the building where Kabaha and his family lived.
The decision split 2-1 with Justice Anat Baron dissenting, saying that only the third floor should have been demolished since Kabaha lived there separately from his family, who lived on the second floor and were unaware of his murderous plans.
However, Justice Yitzhak Amit and Justice Daphna Barak-Erez ruled that whether a family is aware of their family member’s criminal intent is only one factor in deciding how much of a building to demolish in connection to a nationalist murder committed as an act of terror.
They said that the High Court should generally not question the IDF’s discretion about what deterrence message is needed in a given case to help prevent future terrorism.
The fact that he has already confessed to the killing weighed heavily with the High Court.
In contrast, both the petitioners in this case and global critics have said that Israel is isolated among current democracies in carrying out house demolitions, in violation of international law.
Israel argues that there is a basis for house demolitions in international law if the purpose is preventative and not punitive.
Horgen, a mother of six, resided in Tel Menashe in the northern West Bank. Her husband, Binyamin, praised the IDF, the Shin Bet, the police and the IDF Prosecution for taking immediate action on the case. He said he expected “the murderer will be brought to justice. From the explanations we have been given and from viewing the indictment, it is clear that the wild incitement of the Palestinian Authority motivated the murderer to carry out his scheme.”
Moreover, he said he believed that Kabaha would now get paid a salary by the PA, and that it was time for Israel to block the PA’s pay for slay policy.