6 years for E.J’lem man who threw Molotov cocktails at cops

Defendant’s actions racially motivated, came from ‘ideology of hate,’ says prosecution.

Justice gavel court law book judge 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Justice gavel court law book judge 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
A resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday after manufacturing gasoline bombs and throwing them at police.
Louis Maswadeh, 20, confessed and was convicted in a plea bargain of manufacturing weapons and explosives, and attempting to attack a police officer in aggravating circumstances.
The incidents took place as Arabs rioted outside Jewish homes in Silwan in 2010.
According to the amended indictment, during the riots Maswadeh and four other men assembled 15 Molotov cocktails by filling glass bottles with gasoline.
Maswadeh and others then threw the bombs and stones at police and at Jewish homes, damaging security force vehicles and the walls of the homes.
Judge Amnon Cohen, passing sentence, noted that during the riots, a police officer suffered burns to his legs after being hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown by another rioter.
An innocent bystander also suffered facial burns when a different rioter threw a Molotov cocktail at him.
Maswadeh confessed to the charges as part of the plea bargain, and it was agreed that he could argue that the specific Molotov cocktails and stones he personally had thrown had not wounded anyone or caused any damage.
A probation service report on Maswadeh presented to the court noted that he had taken responsibility, at least partially, for his actions and had expressed regret.
The report also noted that Maswadeh had committed the acts for which he is charged in the context of a complex and tense situation between police and the Arabs in Silwan.
Attorney Muhammad Mahmoud, defending, asked the court to take into account that Maswadeh had cooperated with police and had a clean record.
However, attorney Aviya Gliksberg, prosecuting, argued that Maswadeh’s acts were intended to harm Jews and had been carried out in the context of an ideology of hatred.
Gliksberg presented the court with a report that he said showed the scope of such offenses.
The prosecution asked that the court imposed a sentence that would send a message of deterrence.
“It should be noted that this court is faced almost on a daily basis with racially motivated cases of stone throwing, Molotov cocktails and arson,” Cohen said.
The judge added: “It seems as if the punishments imposed in other cases have not helped and have not deterred defendants from going back and carrying out offenses that can endanger human life and especially those of the security forces.”
Cohen said that though Maswadeh and his codefendants, who are being tried separately, had not injured anyone, they had nonetheless created a “real risk to human life.”
The law stipulates that offenses of injury with serious intent are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the judge noted.
However, Cohen explained that his decision to impose a six-year prison term on Maswadeh had taken into account the defendant’s cooperation with police, and that he had given police details of the others involved in the incident.
Maswadeh was also sentenced to 24 months probation, to begin after his release.