A Bedouin citizen of Israel was sentenced on Wednesday to 14 years in prison for planning a terrorist attack on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.
Walid Abu Madiam, 23, a resident of Rahat in the southern Negev desert, told investigators the planned attack was a response to how "Israel is killing innocent people in Gaza." He also said Israel abuses Palestinians who come to the Temple Mount and that "soldiers beat Arabs for nothing."
Judge Daniel Ben-Tolila ruled that Abu Madiam's Israeli citizenship made his actions more egregious. As a citizen, Abu Madiam enjoys the rights Israel provides and has a "duty" to be loyal to the state, the judge argued.
“As far as potential harm is concerned," added Ben-Tolila, "a planned terrorist attack with firearms is more severe than someone who plans to use a knife, but even a cold weapon can lead to the deaths of many.”
Abu Madiam was arrested in November 2020, in Jerusalem's Old City, with a box cutter and a screwdriver. When police stopped and searched him, he said he had planned to carry out a terrorist attack. He repeated this during questioning, saying he only intended to attack security forces and not civilians.
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He was convicted in January of attempted murder with terrorist motives, and prosecutors asked the court to sentence him to 17 years in prison. “The act was well-planned and included deceiving the man who drove him to Jerusalem,” said the prosecution at his sentencing hearing.
Before he left for the attack, Abu Madiam informed his wife of his intentions and bid her farewell, ignoring her attempts to change his mind and threatening divorce if she told anyone else of his plans, according to court papers.