Five Arabs Convicted in Plea Deal Over Hawara Lynch

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hawara Junction. (Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini)

The trials of five rioters who attacked an Israeli vehicle in May 2017 in the Arab town of Hawara ended in a plea deal, which was signed in recent days, Channel 20 reported. The five were sentenced to between five and 36 months in prison, and were fined tens of thousands of shekels for their actions. The culprits were convicted of a range of crimes, including making and using explosives which were thrown at the Israeli vehicle.

Despite the relatively short sentences, attorney Chaim Bleicher of the Honenu rights organization, who represented the victim praised that aspect of the case, praised the outcome, saying that “this was a lynch with dozens of participants, and that they arrested only a half dozen or so because that was all they could find evidence for is a positive precedent, because in the past when there were these massive riots, nobody would be tried because of a lack of evidence.”

Rioting Arabs attacked the vehicle of an Israeli, a resident of the Jewish town of Itamar as he was driving through Hawara, north of Shechem. The Israeli was stuck in the middle of the riot and attempted to get away, but his path was blocked by the Arab driver of an ambulance. The Arabs attempted to pull the victim from the vehicle and lynch him. The Israeli was forced to shoot and kill an Arab in the incident.

The incident took place on the main strip of Hawara, located on Road 60, the main north-south highway in Shomron, which is used daily by Israelis traveling between northern Samaria and the Binyamin and Jerusalem areas.

In a statement, the Samaria Regional Council said that “the Israeli was forced to open fire in order to defend himself from a murderous crowd of some 150 Arabs who were seeking to perform a ‘lynch’ and kill Israelis. The Israeli is the father of 8, a social worker whose only crime was driving home to his family from the supermarket.”

There are still numerous suspects who have yet to go on trial, including the driver of the ambulance that blocked the highway, cutting off the escape route of the Israeli, in order to enable the mob to kill him. The IDF confiscated the ambulance, as well as a bus that was used to transport the rioters to the site, a central square in Hawara.

No charges were brought against the Israeli who shot at the mob to defend himself. Bleicher praised that aspect of the case as well, saying that “it is a positive development that they are not blaming the victim. In cases of a lynch, when the victim is in danger of being killed, we feel that all participants should be arrested and tried on charges of attempted murder.”