Court delays hearing in Palmer murder trial (JERUSALEM POST) By BEN HARTMAN, JOANNA PARASZCZUK 04/18/12)
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The military court trial of two men suspected of killing Israeli
Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan last September is a farce and
a disgrace, far-right MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said
At the Ofer Military Court on Wednesday, Ben-Ari said "this is a
show, not a trial. The deals the prosecution is working out with the
murderers show that the blood of Jewish infants is cheap, even 70
years after the Holocaust."
Minutes earlier, the Military Court issued a ruling to delay the next
hearing in the trial of Ali Sa’adeh and Wa’al al-Arjeh until June
3rd, following a request from the defendants attorney, who also
agreed to allow technical evidence in the case to be part of the case
In November the court indicted Sa´adeh on charges of intentionally
causing death – effectively a murder charge – for allegedly throwing
a stone at Palmer´s car from a passing vehicle on Route 60 outside
Kiryat Arba. Due to the high speed at which the two cars were
traveling, the stone passed through the windshield and struck Palmer,
causing him to lose control of his car and crash. Both Palmer and his
infant son died at the scene.
The IDF initially ruled that the charge was an accident, but days
later said that evidence showed that the accident was the result of a
rock thrown at the car´s windshield.
Sa´adeh faces a total of 23 charges – including an attempt to fire an
M-16 rifle at a passenger bus on Route 60 and membership in a group
that intentionally caused death. Arjeh is charged with a total of 30
The court has also indicted three other Palestinian men in connection
to the Palmers´ deaths, who they say formed a cell to target Israeli
civilians. The court indictment said that they plotted to avenge
a "price tag" attack on a Nablus mosque.
If they are found guilty it would be the first time that someone has
been convicted of murder as a result of rock throwing.
Former Military Judge Adrian Agassi, who is advising the Palmer
family during the trial, said he believes the proceedings could take
between eight months to a year to finish. He added that prosecutors
will face the difficulty of having to prove not that the defendants
threw the rock, rather that they did so with the intent to kill.
He also said that the fact that the defendants´ lawyer agreed to
allow the technical evidence to go into the court case does move the
case forward, and saves the burden of having to call in all of the
technical witnesses to give testimony in person.
Ahead of the court hearing Wednesday, Palmer said that a guilty
verdict won´t help ease any of his family´s pain but would help deter
future attacks of its sort.
"Justice is about deterrence, gaining back the deterrence that didn´t
work on September 23rd. A guilty verdict would bring back some of
this deterrence, but our loss wont be recovered and our pain won´t go
Palmer was joined at the courthouse on Wednesday by two members of
the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and about 20 supporters, many of whom
he did not know, who came to show solidarity with his family. Palmer
attended the initial hearing in February by himself and expressed
dismay at waiting to enter the prison in the same room as the
relatives of the defendants. He came to the hearing on Wednesday in a
rental car, and said that he was told by the army that they could no
longer spare the manpower to send a driver to bring him to the
hearings. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/18/12)
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