Supreme Court reduces DFLP terrorist's prison term

Appellant convicted of carrying out activities in a terrorist organization, attempted murder.

A member of the Kassam Brigades (photo credit: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)
A member of the Kassam Brigades
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)
In a majority ruling on Wednesday, the Supreme Court reduced the prison term of a man convicted of committing security offenses from 12 years to 10.
The appellant, whose name was not released, was convicted under a plea bargain in the Beersheba District Court in 2008 after admitting charges of being active in a terror organization, attempted murder and providing services to an illegal organization. However, the plea bargain did not include any deal regarding sentencing.
According to the indictment, in 2006, the appellant joined the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and was tasked with recruiting others to take part in military activities. The appellant observed IDF troop movements in Gaza and on the Gaza border, as part of a plot to kill IDF soldiers by planting and detonating a 25 kg. explosive device. The appellant planted the charger, but later removed it at the DFLP’s behest.
The appellant also agreed to pass details of IDF activities to Ziad Abu Khalib, the member of Hamas’s military wing responsible for that terror group’s rocket unit in Gaza. He told Abu Khalib that he did not see any troop movements in the region.
The appellant said that his prison term was disproportionately harsh compared with other cases. His lawyer, Lea Tsemel, argued among other things that the court should distinguish between terror activities directed against the State of Israel from those intended to harm armed soldiers.
Justices Miriam Naor and Elyakim Rubinstein held the majority opinion, ruling to accept the appeal and reduce the appellant’s sentence by two years.
Naor said that the appellant’s actions were “severe” but noted he had not actually reported troop movements to Hamas and that since planting the explosives in 2006 had not carried out any acts of equal severity.
However, Justice Neal Handel held the minority view, and said the prison sentence should not be reduced.
“The appellant was convicted on his own admission to belonging to two terror groups,” Handel said, noting that although the appellant had returned the explosive charges he planted to the PFLP before it detonated, he had only done so at the behest of the terror group’s leaders.
“He did not [return the explosive charge] out of moral regret – i.e. because he recognized the severity of his actions – or out of remorse, but only under orders from his organization,” Handel continued. “That organization had its own considerations.
Remorse was not one of them.”