Court delays hearing in Palmer murder trial

MK Ben-Ari calls trial a "show," claims prosecution working out a deal which shows Jewish blood is still "cheap."

Bibi netanyahu (photo credit: JPost Staff)
Bibi netanyahu
(photo credit: JPost Staff)
The military court trial of two men suspected of killing Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan last September is a farce and a disgrace, far-right MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said Wednesday.
“This is a show, not a trial. The deals the prosecution is working out with the murderers show that the blood of Jewish infants is cheap, even 70 years after the Holocaust,” Ben-Ari said at the Ofer Military Court on Wednesday.
Minutes earlier, the military court issued a ruling to delay the next hearing in the trial of Ali Sa’adeh and Wa’al al-Arjeh until June 3, following a request from the defendants’ attorney, who also agreed to allow technical evidence in the case to be part of the case file.
In November, the court indicted Sa’adeh on charges of intentionally causing death – effectively a murder charge – for allegedly throwing a stone at Palmer’s car from a passing vehicle on Route 60 outside Kiryat Arba. Due to the high speed at which the two cars were traveling, the stone passed through the windshield and struck Palmer, causing him to lose control of his car and crash.
Both Palmer and his infant son died at the scene.
The IDF initially ruled that the crash was an accident, but days later said that evidence showed that the accident was the result of a rock thrown at the car’s windshield.
Sa’adeh faces 23 charges – including an attempt to fire an M-16 rifle at a passenger bus on Route 60 and membership in a group that intentionally caused death.
Arjeh is charged with a total of 30 security offenses.
The court has also indicted three other Palestinian men in connection to the Palmers’ deaths, who they say formed a cell to target Israeli civilians. The court indictment said that they plotted to avenge a “price tag” attack on a Nablus mosque.
If they are found guilty it would be the first time that someone has been convicted of murder as a result of rock throwing.
Former military judge Adrian Agassi, who is advising the Palmer family during the trial, said he believes the proceedings could take between eight months to a year to finish.
He added that prosecutors will face the difficulty of having to prove not that the defendants threw the rock, but rather that they did so with the intent to kill.
He also said that the fact that the defendants’ lawyer agreed to allow the technical evidence to go into the court case does move the case forward, and saves the burden of having to call in all of the technical witnesses to give testimony in person.
Ahead of the court hearing Wednesday, Michael Palmer, Asher’s father, said that a guilty verdict won’t help ease any of his family’s pain but would help deter future attacks of its sort.
“Justice is about deterrence, gaining back the deterrence that didn’t work on September 23. A guilty verdict would bring back some of this deterrence, but our loss wont be recovered and our pain won’t go away.”
Palmer was joined at the courthouse on Wednesday by two members of the US Consulate in Jerusalem and about 20 supporters, many of whom he did not know, who came to show solidarity with his family.
Palmer attended the initial hearing in February by himself and expressed dismay at waiting to enter the prison in the same room as the relatives of the defendants.
He came to the hearing on Wednesday in a rental car, and said that he was told by the army that they could no longer spare the manpower to send a driver to bring him to the hearings.