Israel Supreme Court Rejects Request to Jail Shalit Deal Inmate for Domestic Assault

The former Palestinian security prisoner's lawyer argued that his pardon could be revoked only if he committed a crime against state security

Palestinian prisoners celebrate their release as part of the 2011 Shalit deal.
Tal Cohen

The Supreme Court has rejected the state’s request to jail a former Palestinian security prisoner freed in the 2011 prisoner swap for kidnapped soldier Gilat Shalit, who was later rearrested for domestic violence.

Mohammed Ziada was convicted of assaulting his wife in 2016 and sentenced to a year in jail. After he finished serving this sentence, the state asked the parole board to revoke the pardon he received in 2011, so that he would have to serve the remaining 14 years of his original sentence for terrorism.

The parole board agreed, and a district court rejected Ziada’s appeal. But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court overturned that decision.

Ziada’s lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, had argued that his pardon could be revoked only if he committed a crime against state security. Though the parole board and the district court disagreed, the Supreme Court accepted this argument.

“Israel isn’t just a state that fights terror,” Justice Alex Stein wrote for the court, with justices Isaac Amit and George Karra concurring. “Israel is a state of law, which fights terror while upholding its laws and the rights those laws grant human beings.”

In this case, he said, the terms of the pardon clearly stated that it could be revoked only for offenses against state security, so the state must honor those terms.

By the time Ziada was released in the 2011 prisoner swap for kidnapped soldier Gilat Shalit, he had already served 26 years of his sentence for throwing a grenade – which failed to explode – at a bus full of people. After his release, he returned to his home in Lod and promised to refrain from terrorism.

His wife and daughters filed numerous complaints to the police accusing him of assaulting and threatening to murder them. He was convicted and sentenced to six months of community service, but the state appealed, leading to a one-year jail term.