17-year-old Palestinian Charged With Settler's Murder in West Bank

The deadly ambush at the Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank left yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman dead

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The vehicle Dimentman and his friends were driving in, at the scene of the December attack.
The vehicle Dimentman and his friends were driving in, at the scene of the December attack.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/Reuters
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

A 17 years-old was charged on Thursday with the murder of Yehuda Dimentman in a shooting attack near the illegal outpost of Homesh in the West Bank, in an attack orchestrated with two other men.

The indictment said the 17-year-old defendant and his uncle had planned the fatal attack over the course of a month.

On the night of the ambush in December, the teen drove his uncle and a third man to a junction near the outpost and warned them when Dimentman and his friends approached.

The indictment says his uncle had told him that he wanted to “teach the settlers” not to return to the settlements, which would be clear if one of them was killed.

The teen informed his mother of his uncle’s suggestion to take part in a shooting attack, and that he’d decided to consent.

According to the indictment, the teen came to the access road to Homesh with his uncle to plan the shooting of the settlers once they reached the nearby intersection. The 17-year-old also helped his uncle obtain ammunition for this purpose. The teen is also charged with attempted murder, weapon trading and subverting the trial procedure.

On December 16, the teenager drove his uncle and a third person to the Homesh junction, where they alighted the vehicle with their guns and stopped at the spot from which they planned to fire. The three agreed that if they succeeded in murdering a settler they would hide his body, the indictment says.

When the teenager saw Dimentman and his friends’ car making its way from Homesh to the intersection, he alerted the other two men by whistling, and then they proceeded to fire 20 bullets each at the vehicle. They hit Dimentman’s neck and right arm, the chest of one of his friends and the left hand of another friend. The three then fled the site, according to the commander of the Israeli military's Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Blut.

The defendants had tried to carry out the attack on the Friday evening before the murder, but no cars drove past and they returned home. The outpost is surrounded by Palestinian villages and is isolated from the rest of the settlements, and few Israeli cars pass in the area.

The settlement of Homesh was evacuated in 2005 as part of the Israel's disengagement plan from parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Settlers returned shortly afterward and set up the Homesh yeshiva, however, which operates as an outpost, housing a few men who commute between Homesh and the nearby settlement Shavei Shomron. Israelis are forbidden to enter the site according to the Disengagement Law, and the outpost’s structures are evacuated every few months.

In the last evacuation, the civil administration dug trenches in the road leading to Homesh to prevent settlers from returning, though they returned anyway.

In the wake of Dimentman's murder, settlers in the area carried out several attacks on Palestinians, including against a couple from the town Qaryut in the central West Bank, who said they were ambushed at home by some 20 settlers.

Around the settlements of Yitzhar and Kiryat Arba, Palestinians reported injuries from stone-throwing, while residents of Burqa, near Homesh, also said settlers threw stones at them and set a livestock shed ablaze. Last month, Palestinians who had come to the area to farm their land were attacked, and responded by throwing stones at the settlers.

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