Man Cleared of Attempted Murder for 2005 Attack on Palestinian

Shimshon Citrin was acquitted yesterday of attempted murder for throwing a stone at a wounded Palestinian during a Gaza Strip fight on the eve of the 2005 disengagement.

However, the Be'er Sheva District Court convicted Citrin, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Nahaliel, of causing injury, aggravated assault, causing a disturbance, making threats and entering a restricted area. He was 18 years old at the time of the assault.

Citrin and another suspect were arrested after several television crews documented right-wing extremists attempting to lynch Hilal Majaydeh, 18, in the Gaza Strip.

The incident took place after the extremists took over an abandoned building in Muasi, a Palestinian area adjacent to the former settlement bloc of Gush Katif. The extremists got into a rock-throwing fight with Palestinians, including Majaydeh. During the conflict, some of the extremists beat Majaydeh and continued pelting him with rocks even after he lost consciousness.

The indictment details Citrin's actions: "While the [Palestinian] youth was lying injured, near the wall, the defendant ... equipped with a rock, jumped over the wall and hurled the rock at the youth's head, with the intent of causing his death. The rock hit the youth on the forehead. He [the youth] tried to stand and collapsed. ... [When a] medic approached the youth, the defendant said to him 'If you want to get beaten up, treat him.'"

The court ruled, "There is no doubt the defendant meant to harm the victim." However, the judges wrote, "We don't believe that this intent was to kill." The judges said that after the defendant threw the biggest rock, he "left the young man alone after throwing the rock, and did not attempt to hit him again."