Palestinian Accused of Murdering 2 Israeli Policemen in 8-year-old Cold Case

Officers were murdered in the West Bank's Jordan Valley in 2009. An April interrogation linked the suspect to case, along with two other assailants

The murder scene in the Jordan Valley, 2009.
Emil Salman

A Palestinian man has been charged with murdering two Israeli policemen in the Jordan Valley in 2009.

According to Sunday's indictment, Mohammed Radwan Darama, from the West Bank town of Tubas, and two other Palestinians pretended that their car had broken down in order to make the patrol car stop to help them – and the officers were then murdered.

Senior Warrant Officer Yehezkel Ramzarkar and Senior Staff Sgt. Maj. David Rabinowitz were shot to death on March 15, 2009 while patrolling on Route 90. near the Masuah settlement.

Senior Warrant Officer Yehezkel Ramzarkar.
Courtesy
Senior Staff Sgt. Maj. David Rabinowitz.
Courtesy

The Shin Bet security service and Israel Police's Judea and Samaria District, which conducted the initial murder investigation, encountered significant difficulties because the large number of forces arriving at the murder scene had destroyed evidence there. 

Among other things, the police didn’t know what vehicle the perpetrators used or what made the police officers slow down on the road. And at one point in the investigation, the police believed the murders may even have been committed by a Jewish extremist, and examined the possible involvement of Jewish terrorist Jack Teitel.

According to the indictment, the suspect, together with Aleb Abdullah Mohammed and Nasser Abdullah Sabha Darama, tried to carry out robberies a number of times. To do so, the three used to park a vehicle at the side of the road and stage a break-down. That way the hoped to draw the attention of drivers and so make them stop over. When drivers would stop, the three would threaten them with a pistol to drive on to an isolated area where they robbed them. The indictment states that the three staged a car break-down on the day of the murder, when the two officers stopped over to help them and were shot.

Last April, police detained Darama, who was discovered to be carrying improvised explosives, a homemade Carl Gustav submachine gun (known colloquially as a Carlo) and a magazine.

During his interrogation, a suspicion arose that Darama was involved in the 2009 murder. Military prosecutors filed an indictment accusing Darama of murder, arms trading and possession of weapons, among other things.

According to the police, "Following a prolonged investigation by the Shin Bet and the Israel Police, a significant breakthrough was reached in the investigation of the officers' murder."

The Judea and Samaria District added that they "will act with determination to detain, investigate and bring to justice killers, even years after the act."