Israeli Supreme Court Trims Sentence of 13-year-old Behind Jerusalem Stabbing Attacks

Ahmed Manasra will now serve nine and a half years, not 12, for his role in the stabbing of another 13-year-old and a yeshiva student in 2015

Ahmed Mansara in court in 2015 for his role in two stabbing attacks.
Emil Salman

The Supreme Court on Thursday lightened the punishment of Ahmed Manasra, a 13-year-old Palestinian who took part in two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem two years ago, reducing his prison sentence to nine and a half years from 12.

Manasra had confessed to most of the charges, and on Thursday, Justice David Mintz cited his age, his long rehabilitation process and the recommendation of the social services.

The court noted that he felt remorse and that his parents condemned his actions, but it rejected his appeal and maintained the conviction of two counts of attempted murder.

Mintz said that Manasra and his cousin “devised a plan to murder innocents for nationalist and ideological reasons,” and that as a result, the two victims “suffered serious injuries,” both physical and psychological.

On October 12, 2015, Manasra took a knife and, with his cousin Hassan, went to the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. According to the indictment, Hassan stabbed a yeshiva student, wounding him, and fled in search of more victims. The two then found a 13-year-old Israeli riding his bicycle; Hassan stabbed him four times, critically wounding him.

Passersby then chased the two assailants and beat Manasra until the police arrived. Hassan at first managed to evade the police, who later found him; he then threatened them with his knife. After he did not respond when they told him to drop the weapon, he approached them and they shot him to death.

As part of the conviction, Manasra was ordered to pay 80,000 shekels ($22,220) in compensation to the yeshiva student and 100,000 shekels to the 13-year-old boy. The court also rejected Manasra’s request to cancel the compensation because of his status as a minor and the family’s financial problems.

The district court’s verdict was given after Manasra had turned 14, the minimum age for the incarceration of a minor. The lower court rejected the recommendation of the social services to keep him in a rehabilitation facility until age 18. Manasra is serving his sentence at Ofek Prison’s youth facility.

Manasra confessed to most of the details in the indictment, but expressed reservations about the statement that he had acted “with the aim of murder”– a statement required to prove attempted murder. He said he told Hassan not to attack the 13-year-old but could not dissuade him.