Hamas Men Get a Life Sentence for Each Death in the Park Hotel Suicide Bombing

The four Palestinian Hamas activists who planned the Park Hotel Passover massacre in Netanya a year ago were sentenced yesterday to 29 life terms and another 20 years in prison. The sentence was handed down in the military court at Salem roadblock in the West Bank.

On Passover eve a year ago, a suicide bomber detonated himself in Netanya's Park Hotel as guests were preparing for the traditional seder dinner. Twenty-nine people were killed, and around 100 injured. Another suicide bomber assigned to the same mission had a change of heart the day before and told his operators he was not feeling well.

Although the military prosecutor did not call for capital punishment, the military judges wrote in the sentence: "If capital punishment is not justified in this case - when is it justified?"

Muhand Sharim, one of Hamas's leaders in Tul Karm, was involved in preparing the suicide bomber, Abdel Bassat Ouda, sent him off on the mission and supplied his driver with a forged Israeli ID. The driver, Fathi Hassib, was also sentenced yesterday. Mouamar Shahrouri obtained the two bomb-belts. It was he who convinced the driver, Hassib, to select a target and take the bomber to it. The fourth terrorist, Nasser Yataima, transported the bomb-belt that was used by Bassat. Shahrouri was present when Bassat was videotaped before he left on his mission, and when he put on the bomb-belt.