A military court on Wednesday convicted on charges of manslaugheter Madoch Yussuf Muhammad Amaro, the terrorist who killed Eliav Gelman, Hy”d, two years – but exonerated him on charges of murder. The decision set off angry relations among many, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said that the decision “made no sense. I am sure that in the end,” upon appeal that the decision would be updated to convict Amaro of murder.
Gelman, 30, of the town of Carmei Tzur, was killed hitchhiking at the Gush Etzion Junction on February 24, 2016. He was waiting for a ride home after serving several days of reserve duty. Amaro pushed Gelman, flailing a knife. He managed to pull out his weapon and shot at the terrorist, while soldiers who were in the area fired at Amaro as well. However, they hit Gelman as well – and the soldier later passed away from chest wounds due to the bullet that hit him.
As such, Amaro did not technically murder Gelman, although prosecutors argued that the entire reason shots were fired was because the terrorist was in the act of attempting to murder the victim. Two of the three judges on the military court panel Wednesday voted to convict Amaro of manslaughter, while one voted to convict him of intentionally causing the death of someone, a charge that carries penalties that are the same as murder.
In their decision, the judges said that there was no way to know if Amaro had actually planned to murder Gelman; perhaps he had wanted just to injure him. Without knowing his state of mind, he could not be convicted of murder, they said.
The prosecution is considering an appeal. Speaking after the sentencing, attorney Chaim Bleicher, who represented the family, said that “seeking out the terrorist’s state of mind, when it is clear that he was part of the terrorists’ efforts to kill Jews, is not logical and unacceptable. It is clear that his purpose was to murder, and unfortunately he achieved his goal.”
In a social media post, Liberman said that he agreed with prosecutors. “Any terrorist who runs at a soldier or civilians brandishing a knife is clearly trying to murder them, and must be convicted of such charges. This decision is illogical, and I am sure it will be overturned in the end.”