Israeli Court Charges Suspected Jewish Terrorists for Attacks Against Palestinians

The arrest of the seven members of the group, including an IDF soldier and two minors, was revealed last week by the Shin Bet.

Kaplan in court, Lod, April 25, 2016.
Ilan Assayag

Seven Israelis were indicted on Monday for carrying out attacks against Palestinians in the vicinity of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The prosecution issued an indictment to the Lod District Court against the seven accusing them, among other charges, of tossing tear gas grenades and firebombs at Palestinian civilians.

A gag order lifted on Wednesday revealed the arrests of the suspected Jewish terrorist group accused of attacking Palestinians.

Ben Aharon in court, Lod, April 24, 2016.
Ilan Assayag

The suspects include an Israel Defense Forces soldier in the Netzah Yehuda infantry battalion, Yisrael Shendrofi, from the settlement of Nahliel, his brother Pinhas, Michael Kaplan from Beit Shemesh, Itamar Ben Aharon from Jerusalem, Shneor Dana from the settlement of Ma'ale Efraim and two minors.

Prosecutors are demanding that all but three suspects be kept in custody for the duration of the trial, and that the remaining three be placed under house arrest.

The arrest warrant says that the minors and the Shendorfi brothers have admitted to committing the crimes for which they have been charged. 

A torched car in the West Bank village of Beitillu, October, 2015.
Abbas Momani / AFP

According to the indictment, the soldier and the two minors whose names were withheld from publication, had a crate of ammunition, including standard-issue flashbang grenades, a stun grenade, five M-16 rifle magazines and parts of an M-16 rifle. 

In one of their attacks in December, two tear gas grenades were thrown into the home of a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Beitillu.

According to the indictment, the two minors took the grenades, wiped off their fingerprints, and put on masks before heading to Beitillu. After making sure the house was occupied, they smashed a window and threw the grenades inside. The head of the Palestinian household was awakened by irritation to his eyes from the gas but managed to get a baby out of the house in time before they were injured.

In another incident in November, the minors decided to take revenge for Palestinian attacks against Israelis, and threw stones at a home in the village of Mazra'a Qibliya, then threw firebombs inside the home as well.

One of the firebombs struck the glass and bounced back outside, and the other struck a plastic table in the house. In another revenge attack three of the suspects threw stones at Arab vehicles and set fire to another Palestinian vehicle. In July 2014 they set fire to yet another vehicle.

In yet another charge the minors and two of the other suspects beat up a 60-year-old Palestinian man with sticks and tear gas. The victim was moderately wounded.

In 2013, a member of the group is accused of attacking a driver who came to unload rocks in the settlement of Nahliel. The soldier has been charged with permitting the minors to use his weapon.