Suspects Held for Throwing Stones That Killed Father, Son

Incident initially described as a traffic accident; however, additional evidence collected proves rocks thrown at Asher Palmer's car, were the cause of the collision.

Two Palestinians were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of throwing rocks that caused a car crash killing a man and his baby son, the Shin Bet security service disclosed on Thursday.

Asher Palmer, 25, and his 1-year-old son Yonatan were killed near Kiryat Arba on September 23

attack in which Asher and Yonatan Palme - Tomer Appelbaum - 07102011
Tomer Appelbaum

The Israel Defense Forces initially described the incident as a traffic accident due to excessive speed, although a large rock was found in the car, which had veered off the road. However, three days later, after collecting additional evidence the police contradicted the IDF report, determining that rocks had been thrown at Palmer's car, apparently by an oncoming car driven by Palestinians.

The GOC Central Command, Avi Mizrahi, then ordered that all intelligence and operational resources be focused on capturing the perpetrators.

A joint operation by the Judea and Samaria police, the IDF and the Shin Bet led to the arrests of the two Palestinians, who are residents of Halhul near Hebron.

Following up on intelligence leads, the Shin Bet subsequently arrested three other Palestinians who admitted they had stolen Palmer's gun after the accident, leaving the critically injured Palmer and the baby in the car without assisting them.

A gag order has been imposed on details of the investigation, which is still underway. The two suspects confessed during interrogation to throwing the stones.

After the description of the incident was revised from a traffic accident to a terror incident, the Defense Ministry expedited recognition of Asher and Yonatan Palmer as terror victims, and the National Insurance Institute was instructed to allocate the state assistance to which the families of such victims are entitled.

In a "Price Tag" attack in the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangaria earlier this week, in which the local mosque was torched, attackers also painted the word "Palmer" on the walls, presumably a reference to the terror attack.

The IDF revealed Thursday that September was the most violent month in the last year and a half in terms of rock-throwing in the West Bank. There were 498 incidents of rocks being thrown last month - 33 percent more than the monthly average over the past year. This was the highest monthly total since Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in early 2009.