Palestinian convicted of killing Asher Palmer

Military court convicts Palestinian of murder for intentionally killing Asher Palmer and his infant son, according to IDF.

Michael Palmer at the Ofer military court 370 (photo credit: JOANNA PARASZCZUK)
Michael Palmer at the Ofer military court 370
(photo credit: JOANNA PARASZCZUK)
A military court set a legal precedent when it ruled that Palestinian Waal al-Arjeh was guilty of murder for killing Asher Palmer, 25, and his infant son, Yonatan, by throwing a stone at their vehicle, attorney Adrian Agassi told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“It is the first time that a military court has handed a verdict of murder for rock-throwing,” said Agassi, who prior to his private practice served as a military judge for 10 years. “I cannot remember a verdict like this.”
The ruling, which was issued by the Judea Military Court on Tuesday, said that Arjeh had intentionally caused the death of Palmer and his son.
According to the IDF, Arjeh and an accomplice, Ali Saadeh, had intentionally thrown a stone from a moving taxi at Palmer’s vehicle.
The stone broke the windshield and caused the car to overturn.
Agassi said that Arjeh had the right to an appeal and he was certain he would use it.
“But I do not see that this ruling will be overturned,” he added.
The ruling comes at a time when settlers in Judea and Samaria are pushing for the IDF and the government to take the escalations of rock-throwing against Israeli vehicles in the West Bank more seriously.
Initially, security forces thought Palmer and his son died in a car accident on Route 60 outside the Kiryat Arba settlement on September 23. It took days before the Defense Ministry recognized them as terror victims.
According to Agassi, this was not an incident in which a random small roadside stone was tossed. The object thrown at Palmer’s vehicle, he said, was more like a block, in that it was 18 by 11 centimeters and five centimeters thick.
“It was thrown from an oncoming vehicle that was traveling in the opposite direction.
At that velocity, it was like shooting a bullet,” Agassi said.
Arjeh was the ringleader of a gang that developed this method to kill Jews, Agassi said. They had tried it many times before, he added. The attorney said the defendant had worked for the Palestinian Authority security forces and as a taxi driver, and knew the area roads very well.
On Tuesday, the court also charged Arjeh with 25 counts of attempted murder. He has yet to be sentenced.
A verdict has yet to be issued in the case against Saadeh. Agassi said technical matters held up his case.
Agassi said he believed the court would hand down a stiff sentence of life imprisonment, so that Arjeh “would not see the light of day again.”
“This is not just a personal win for Palmer’s family,” he said.
Verdicts such as this coupled with a stiff sentence are important for Israeli deterrence against Palestinians who use stone throwing as a weapon against Israelis, Agassi said.
“This was nothing less than terrorism and we have to fight back with every legal method we can,” he said.
Asher’s father, Michael, he said, was a brave man for fighting on his son’s behalf to ensure justice was done.