Palestinian Teen Convicted of Attempted Murder, Possession of Knife in Pisgat Ze'ev Terror Attack

A., who was 13 at the time he carried out the attack with his cousin, stabbed a Jewish teenager of the same age; defendant says he had no intention of committing murder.

A., the teen who along with his cousin seriously wounded two in Pisgat Ze'ev, at his remand hearing, November 11, 2016.
Emil Salman

A. and his cousin stabbed and seriously wounded two Israelis, one of them a 13-year-old, in the East Jerusalem settlement last October. A. was hit by a passing car and beaten by passerbys before the police arrived. His cousin fled and was later shot dead after coming at the Border Police with a knife.

A teenager from East Jerusalem has been convicted of two counts of attempted murder and possession of a knife in a 2015 stabbing attack in Pisgat Ze'ev.

A., who was 13 at the time, and his cousin, H., stabbed and seriously wounded two Israeli boys, Naor Ben-Ezra and another teenager, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood last October. Ben-Ezra, 13, has since recovered. A. was hit by a passing car and beaten by passerbys before the police arrived. His cousin fled and was later shot dead after coming at the Border Police with a knife.

The scene of the stabbing in Pisgat Ze'ev, October 12, 2016.
Magen David Adom

Judges Yoram Noam, Moshe Bar-Am and Rivka Friedman Feldman rejected the defense's arguments and convicted the teen on Tuesday. His sentencing will be announced at a later date.

His lawyer, Lea Tsemel, argued in court that A. could not be convicted of attempted murder because he himself had not stabbed anyone and that he had repeatedly said during his interrogation that his intention was only to injure rather than to kill Jews.  A. had testified that he even called on his cousin not to stab Ben-Ezra because they had agreed in advance not to hurt children.

His attorneys were uncertain at the start of the proceedings whether to let him stand trial or to have him plead guilty to shorten the legal process, as by law police cannot incarcerate a minor under 14. He turned 14 four months ago so can now be imprisoned. He is currently held at a closed detention facility for youths.

After the hearing, the prosecutor, Yuval Kedar, said: "The fact that he is a minor does not alter the perceived danger of the act, which was carried out at the beginning of the terror wave in which youths and minors perpetrated many attacks. The district attorney will continue to judge severely each one and demand incarceration."

Tsemel commented: "The outcome is very disappointing. He meant at most to injure, and there is no disputing that he himself did not stab anyone and did not injure anyone. There was no attempted murder or intent to murder."

The teen was hospitalized before being released to a detention facility. At the time, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of "executing" the teenager, prompting the Prime Minister's Office to release a photograph of the him in the hospital.