3 Palestinian Teens Sentenced To Over 10 Years In Prison
THE NATIONAL – An Israeli court on Monday sentenced a 14-year-old and two other Palestinian teenagers accused of stabbing Israelis to more than a decade in prison.
The sentences drew criticism from Palestinians and rights activists, with the lawyer of the 14-year-old describing them as a “defeat of both Israeli society and the court”.
Ahmed Manasra, 14, was sentenced to 12 years for the attempted murder of two Israelis in the Jewish settlement Pisgat Zeev in annexed east Jerusalem in October last year. He was 13 at the time.
A 15-year-old cousin who was with him was shot dead by Israeli security forces.
The two Israelis, a 20-year-old and a 12-year-old boy, were wounded but survived.
Manasra had pleaded not guilty, saying he himself had not stabbed either of the victims and had only intended to frighten them.
In addition to the jail term, the Jerusalem district court ordered Manasra to pay 80,000 shekels (Dh77,124) in compensation to the adult victim and 100,000 to the boy, the ruling said.
His lawyer Lea Tsemel said she planned to appeal.
The sentencing and trial were closed to journalists because Manasra is a minor. The court had barred him from being named but his identity had already been revealed by Israeli authorities and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Association.
Manasra appeared calm as he entered and left the courtroom in east Jerusalem in handcuffs. His father refused to comment.
“Our defeat, of the legal team, is a very small defeat compared to the wide and deep defeat of both the Israeli society and the court,” Ms Tsemel.
She said that “everyone talked about the full rehabilitation he is going through. Everyone talked about a kid who’s not dangerous at all.
“And despite this, the court approved the prosecution’s claim and gave him the full sentence, plus an unimaginable and not-possible fine.”
In two other cases, the court sentenced a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old to 11 years in prison for stabbing a Jew in Jerusalem’s Old City in January, and a 32-year-old Palestinian woman to 11 years in prison for seeking to carry out a suicide attack with a car bomb.
The incident involving Manasra came at the start of a months-long escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence that left at least 238 Palestinians dead as well as about 36 Israelis. Most of the Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces while allegedly attempting to carry out attacks.
Many analysts say the unrest was fulled by mounting Palestinian frustration with the Israeli occupation and settlement-building in the West Bank and the failure to reach a peace deal with Israel.
Israel on Monday formally rejected France’s invitation to take part in a Middle East peace conference in Paris later this year, saying it was a distraction from the goal of direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
French envoy Pierre Vimont was told Israel wanted nothing to do with the effort to revive talks that last broke down in 2014 .
“[They] told the French envoy in a clear and unequivocal manner that Israel’s position to promote the peace process and reach an agreement will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
Vimont, who later met Palestinian officials in Ramallah, made no comment following the discussions but the French foreign ministry has said it still plans to hold the conference before the end of the year.
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