Teens to Be Charged With Terrorism in Attack on Palestinians That Led to Deadly Police Chase

Four Israelis, including two minors, were indicted for throwing stones at Palestinian cars – an act that led to the West Bank car chase with police that killed Ahuvia Sandak

Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz
A woman holds a poster reading 'Justice for Ahuvia' at a protest against the teen's death in Jerusalem, in January.
A woman holds a poster reading 'Justice for Ahuvia' at a protest against the teen's death in Jerusalem, in January.Credit: Emil Salman
Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz

The four teenagers who were riding in the car with Ahuvia Sandak when he was killed during a car chase with police are set to be indicted on terrorism charges, the prosecution announced on Thursday, pending a hearing.

Efraim Gozlan, Zvi Katan and two minors are expected to be charged with acts of terrorism, aggravated intentional property damage, throwing stones at vehicles, deliberate damage to vehicles on the basis of ethnicity and driving without a license.

According to the draft indictment, in December 2020, they had taken a car – which the driver was not licensed to drive – from the Kochav Hashachar settlement in the West Bank, climbed a hill by the side of the road in order to identify whether the passengers of passing cars of these cars were Arab and threw rocks at them if they were. Two of the rocks hit cars, it said, damaging them.

Sandak, 16, was among the group of Israeli teens suspected of throwing stones at Palestinian cars. After receiving reports of the violence, a police statement said, officers were called to a West Bank junction north of Jerusalem. The suspects drove recklessly when they saw law enforcement approaching, and a chase ensued. The police car collided with the teens' vehicle, which overturned. Sandak, who was apparently not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the car and pinned underneath it.

The death of Sandak sparked protests and riots in Jerusalem, calling for a commission of inquiry into the event and the closure of the Shai District Police in the West Bank, the unit tasked with investigated nationalist crimes perpetuated by the so-called hilltop youth from the settlements.

Attorneys Adi Keidar and Moshe Polsky from the Honenu organization, which provides legal aid to Jewish terror subjects, are representing the teens. They called the indictment is "a last and hopeless attempt by the police, with the support of the prosecution, to escape facing the bitter truth, which is that they are the guilty ones who caused the death of Ahuvia Sandak and the injury to the other boys."

They also accused the police, with the help of officials from the unit that investigates police misconduct, of covering up and disrupting the investigation into car accident. "They acted wildly and not in accordance with protocol, and the attorney general himself said the same," Keidar said.

Two weeks ago, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit closed the criminal case against four policemen involved in the car chase. Mendelblit said the policemen couldn’t be held criminally responsible because they were justified in chasing the vehicle.

“There is no support in the evidence for the claim that the policemen sought to hit the fleeing car deliberately,” Mendelblit wrote. And from reports prepared by accident investigators, including one hired by Sandak’s family, “it is not possible to determine which vehicle swerved and caused the collision,” he stated.

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