Israeli Charged in Attack on Palestinian Town During Protests Over Settler's Death

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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One of the houses damaged in the attack in the village of Sarta, last month.
One of the houses damaged in the attack in the village of Sarta, last month.Credit: Israel Police
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

An Israeli settler was indicted Tuesday for his alleged involvement in an attack on a West Bank Palestinian village last month in which homes and cars were hit with stones and stun grenades, injuring one village resident. 

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The accused, who was a minor at the time of the incident and who will be tried as a juvenile, is charged with causing injury under aggravated circumstances out of  racist motives, conspiracy, the illegal possession of a weapon, attempted destruction of  property and malicious damage to a vehicle. The attack took place in the Palestinian village of Sarta near the major settlement of Ariel.

It occurred during a period of protests over the death of Ahuvia Sandak, a teenage resident  of a West Bank settlement who was killed while in a car that overturned during a police chase in December. Protests demanding “justice for Ahuvia” were accompanied by a spike in reports of attacks against Palestinians throughout the West Bank. This is the second indictment linked to the protests and the first involving alleged acts committed in the West Bank.

In the Sarta incident, the prosecution alleges that the juvenile defendant conspired with seven other people “to harm Palestinians whoever they may be and their property.” The suspect was arrested last week and police claim that at the time of the attack, he was violating the terms of a house arrest order.

An Israel Police water cannon sprays demonstrators protesting Ahuvia Sandak's death in Jerusalem last month. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Prosecutors have asked that he be ordered to remain in custody for the duration of the trial. Four other suspects were also arrested but have since been released.

In the attack, some of which was caught on security camera footage, assailants threw stun grenades and stones at four homes and vandalized two cars. A 61-year-old Palestinian man was injured in the forehead by fragments and two other people, including a pregnant woman, also required medical attention.

Defense attorneys Adi Kedar and Moshe Polaski of the Honenu organization said that there was only one piece of forensic evidence implicating the minor and it was entirely unsubstantiated by other proof. “This would not be sufficinent to arrest him and certainly not to convict him,” they said. “We hope that the court  orders him released as soon as possible.” 

Honenu's website describes the organization as providing legal counsel to Israelis who “find themselves in legal entanglements due to defending themselves against Arab aggression, or due to their love for Israel.” 

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