A military court in the West Bank sentenced a Palestinian convicted of intentionally running over and killing an Israeli near Hebron in 2015 to life in prison on Monday. Sahban Titi was also ordered to pay 1.8 million shekels ($525,000) in restitution to the estate of victim Avraham Hasno.
Titi was convicted of premeditated homicide, the equivalent under military law to murder.
A resident of the settlement of Kiryat Arba, 54-year-old Hasno was killed near a traffic junction southwest of Hebron. According to the indictment against him, Titi was driving a truck on October 20, 2015, in the southern West Bank as disturbances were underway at the Al-Fawwar junction. Hasno was nearby in his car and got out of the vehicle when a stone was thrown at it, per the indictment. When Titi approached the junction, he is alleged to have seen Hasno walking toward him and standing in front of the hood of Titi’s truck. Titi then “slammed on the gas” and accelerated forward, hitting Hasno and dragging him under the wheels of the truck before fleeing the scene, according to the indictment.
According to Titi’s version of events, however, he hit Hasno with his car because he was afraid of him. Hasno, he alleged, was holding a club in his hand and was walking among the vehicles at the scene.
Military court judge Zvi Heilborn ruled that Titi had deliberately hit Hasno and that, although he could not determine the motive, the defendant’s explanation that he did so out of fear was problematic, and he had not presented circumstances justifying a claim of self-defense.
Following the incident, which the Defense Ministry recognized as a deliberate car ramming attack, Titi turned himself in to Palestinian security forces and claimed that the case involved an accident. He was released by Palestinian authorities in 2016 and was then rearrested by Israel’s Shin Bet security service and the military’s Duvdevan unit. He was indicted that year on manslaughter charges, but in April 2019, the Military Advocate General’s office decided to amend the indictment from manslaughter to the equivalent of murder.
Hasno’s wife, Ruti, read a statement on Monday outside the courthouse in which she said, “What I would have liked would be a death sentence for the terrorist, and I hope that one day, the State of Israel will carry it out because Jewish blood is not up for grabs.”
Haim Bleicher, a lawyer with the right-wing legal defense organization Honenu, which has provided support to the Hasno family, said that a life sentence was “the minimum,” and that “the time has come for these terrorists not to be living among us anymore.”