Israel's State Prosecution has reached a plea bargain with five right-wing activists charged with tracking Israel Defense Forces' movements in an effort to prevent outpost demolitions in the West Bank.
- Israel court sends right-wing activists charged with tracking IDF to house arrest
- Right-wingers charged with 'spying' on IDF to prevent outpost demolitions
- Kahane’s grandson banned from West Bank for a year
- State refuses to put Kahane’s grandson in administrative custody
The year-long case has not been closed, and the defendants have been sentenced to particularly light sentences, due to significant evidentiary problems.
The five suspects were charged in January 2012 for allegedly collecting information from soldiers on active duty, settlement security officers, and even from coalition chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud).The suspects are all residents of West Bank settlements: Akiva Hacohen, 27; David Eliyahu, 19; Effi Chaikin, 20; Elad Meir, 35; and Meir Ettinger, 20, grandson of the late Kach leader, Meir Kahane.
The indictments were issued based on an investigation into the events on the Ephraim Brigade base on the night of December 12-13, 2011, during which right-wing activists infiltrated the base, vandalized equipment and threw stones.
On the evening of December 12, as the situation room again began receiving reports of suspicious troop movements, the rioting on Route 55 at the entrance to the Ramat Gilad outpost began, during which the rioters attacked IDF officers and Palestinians. Later that night, the Ephraim Brigade base was broken into.
Though the activists didn't know it for sure at the time, the army had indeed planned demolitions in Mitzpeh Yitzhar that night. Once the disturbances on Route 55 began, GOC Central Command Major General Avi Mizrahi called off the demolition and focused on the rioting.
On December 14, police raided the Jerusalem apartment and arrested Eliyahu, Chaikin and Ettinger. That night, the IDF razed two structures in Mitzpeh Yitzhar.
Over the course of the year of legal proceedings that followed the indictments, it emerged that the prosecution had employed wire-tapping without notifying the court, and the state chose to close the case with a lenient plea bargain.
Hacohen and Chaikin will be convicted of collecting the information, and will be sentenced to three months in jail. These three months will include the 18 days they had already served in jail.
Ettinger will be also be convicted of collecting military information, but because he has already served half a year in jail for violating the terms of his house arrest, he will be released immediately.
Meir and Eliyahu will be convicted of forging contacts to commit a crime. The prosecution will request community service for their sentencing. However, the two are entitled to request that the court not convict them and allow them to do "service on behalf of the public."
It should be noted that all of the charges pertaining to the events at the Efraim Brigade base last December have been erased.