Israeli settlers indicted for rock-throwing at Arab videographer

Published January 17th, 2016 - 05:30 GMT

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed a rare indictment with the city’s district court against three settler activists for rock throwing at an Arab videographer on March 7, 2014 while he was driving on a road to film an outbreak of violence between Palestinians of Jilzun Village and settlers of Beit El.

The three, Mirhai Pinhasov, 49 of Beit El, Yechiel Meit Zilber, 26 of Jerusalem, and a then 17-year-old minor from Beit El, were charged with intentionally endangering lives on a public thoroughfare, intentional damage to a vehicle and causing a public disturbance.

Due to the charge of intentionally endangering lives on a public thoroughfare, the three could theoretically face up to 20 years in prison, though courts rarely give the maximum sentence in rock throwing cases.

In the past, many cases of alleged rock throwing or other attacks by Jews on Palestinians, without using a gun or a knife, have not led to indictments and have raised claims that law enforcement comes down harder on Palestinians than on Jews for similar kinds of attacks.

Even in this instance, the prosecution has been accused of dragging its feet, such that only repeated pushes by the victim and his lawyer led to an indictment, and even then this was around two years after the incident.

The incident as described in the indictment started with rock throwing between the adjacent Palestinian and Jewish towns around 1:30 p.m.

Abbas Momani, in his capacity as a videographer for European news outlets, was driving on the road bordering between the two villages to arrive at and videotape the altercation.

Ataf Safdi was on his way to the same altercation with Momani, driving in a second car behind him.

The three defendants, and an additional attacker whose identity is still unknown, approached the part of the road where Momani was about to arrive and at close range started throwing rocks at Momani and his vehicle while the vehicle was moving at a speed of around 50 kph.

In addition to many other rocks which the defendants threw, Pinhasov in particular threw a large and heavy rock from a distance of only a few meters at the front windshield of Momani’s car, causing the window to break.

The indictment said that the actions of the defendants not only caused a public disturbance, but endangered the life of Momani.

By Yonah Jeremy Bob

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