Court Releases Youth Who Allegedly Killed Arab Woman in Stoning Incident

Road signs on Route 60. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The state on Tuesday suffered a second setback in its cases against Jews who allegedly harmed Arabs, when a Lod court ordered the release from prison to house arrest of a minor who was accused of killing a 58-year-old Arab mother of nine as she was riding in a vehicle in Shomron. Forensic evidence collected by the Israel Forensic Institute indicates that a rock with the DNA of the youth on it could not have directly caused the death of Aisha a-Rabi. That rock was the basis of the prosecution’s case against the youth.

The incident occurred last October, with prosecutors filing an indictment against the youth after several other youths initially accused were released for lack of evidence. According to the indictment, the youth picked up a stone weighing about two kilos (five pounds) and forcefully threw it at the vehicle in which Aisha a-Rabi was riding. The act was committed “with no concern for the possibility that someone could die as a result,” the indictment read. The case is pending, and the youth was placed under house arrest until the end of proceedings.

According to the Shin Bet, the rock-throwing incident occurred on a Friday night, December 10, 2018 on Road 60. The youths, who are students at Yeshivat Pri Ha’aretz in the Shomron town of Rechelim, are accused of leaving the yeshivah late Friday night and throwing stones at Arab vehicles. The stones struck a vehicle in which the woman was riding along with her husband. As a result of the attack, the vehicle skidded and overturned, injuring both seriously. The woman, died of her wounds in the hospital.

But after receiving the forensic report, the court Tuesday said that there was no current basis to keep the youth in prison. The report takes into account the opinions of 12 experts, with ten of them agreeing that the rock itself could not have been the cause of death. The youth’s defense attorneys claim that he was not involved in any rock-throwing incident, and the fact of the presence of his DNA on the rock is unconnected to the attack, and could have gotten onto it in any number of ways.

This was the second setback within just a few days for prosecutors in high-profile “Jewish terror” cases. Prosecutors on Sunday signed a plea deal with A., a minor who had been accused of burning down the home of the Dawabshe family in the Shomron village of Duma in July 2015, leading to the deaths of Sa’ed and Riham Dawabshe, and their 18-month-old baby, Ali.

The plea deal, however, makes no mention of the Duma crime – indicating, A.’s attorneys said, that he would not be prosecuted in the case.

Also not appearing in the deal is another accusation against A. – that he participated in the burning of a church in the Galilee. The plea deal does include A.’s admission to participating in several “price tag” incidents, including slashing the tires of cars owned by Arabs.

Attorneys for A. called the deal “dramatic,” given the bombastic statements by prosecutors regarding the guilt of the suspect in the destruction that led to the immolation of the Dawabshe infant. Attorneys for A. and for the adult suspect who has also been accused of participating in the crime, Amiram Ben-Uliel, have claimed that the Duma incident was an intra-Arab matter, and that the house had been burned down by other Arabs from the village.

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