Israeli Arab Who Attacked Security Forces in 2021 Sentenced to 15 Years

The defendant was convicted of shooting at policemen and throwing tiles at security forces during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May last year

עדי חשמונאי
Adi Hashmonai
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Police in Umm al-Fahm.
Police in Umm al-Fahm.Credit: Baz Ratner
עדי חשמונאי
Adi Hashmonai

An Umm al-Fahm resident who had attacked security forces during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May last year was sentenced on Thursday to 15 years in prison.

After initially being accused of attempted murder, Mohammad Mahdi Agbaria confessed to “terror offenses” and assault “that miraculously didn’t cause anyone’s death” as part of a plea bargain. The judges said his acts constituted a “coup attempt.”

Agbaria, 35, shot at policemen near Umm al-Fahm during a violent demonstration at Ein Ibraim junction. Two days later, during an attempt to arrest him, he hid on the roof of his house and threw tiles at the security forces below, injuring one of them in the head.

Agbaria was convicted in the Haifa District Court of terror offenses with grievous intent, injurious assault and possessing and using a firearm. The murder attempt was struck off the charge in the plea deal, which did not include an agreement on the punishment. In addition to the prison sentence, the court gave him 51 months suspended sentence and a 10,000 shekel fine.

Agbaria’s lawyer said he would appeal against the sentence to the Supreme Court.

The judges ruled that Agbaria’s acts weren’t a democratic demonstration but “acts of defiance against the regime and the government. They constitute an attempt to effect a coup by force,” wrote judges Avi Levy, Eran Koton and Eyal Baumgart. “This requires heavy punishment and this is the lawmaker’s intent, in stipulating that acts committed for a nationalist or racist motive should be punished more severely.”

Agbaria’s lawyer Alaa Aldin Athmana said in response that “the punishment is doubtlessly severe. The court saw fit to mete out a harsh sentence to deter others. There is also no doubt that the atmosphere, the spirit and the criticism of the courts has affected the punishment to a large degree.”

On Wednesday, two East Jerusalem residents who took part in a lynch attempt on a Jewish man during the riots last May were convicted of an act of terror of injury with grievous intent. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court sentenced the younger one, who was 17 at the time, to three years in prison. The second one, who was 26 at the time, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

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