Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Palmer Conviction: Kudos for truth

The Palmer Conviction: Kudos for truth
April 3, 2013
Amazing. Something of a miracle.

A couple of weeks ago a military court judge, Major Amir Dahan, was quoted in the Israeli press as saying that ‘rock throwing’ by Arabs was not necessarily attempted murder, rather a “prank” (as the phrase ‘ma’ase kundas’ is translated by google.) In other words, hurling rocks at moving vehicles isn’t necessary attempted murder. Rather, a ‘kid’s game.’ Numerous officials, including the military commander of the Judea/Hebron brigade, Col. Avi Bluth , and I’m told, also Central Command General Nitzan Alon, were quoted as rejecting this ‘prank’ statement, calling rock-throwing ‘terror.’

Dahan’s designation was especially disturbing for several reasons. First of all, rocks have killed people. Second, rock-throwing, as a form of Arab terror, has increased considerably over the past months. Third, the judge quoted heads the military court panel trying Arab terrorists indicted for throwing rocks and killing Asher and Yonatan Palmer hy”d.

Since the murder in September 2011, and the murderers’ capture, it was clear that the only feasible, reasonable, acceptable verdict could be first degree murder, as opposed to manslaughter, or any other watered-down conviction.

But, as is too well known, in Israel, logic and rationality don’t necessarily come into play, particularly in the justice arena, i.e. courts. We have witnessed many too many decisions that seem to be based more on politics than on facts and pure justice.

That being the case, the Palmer family, together with their friends, supporters and all others seeking such justice waited with abated breath for the court’s verdict, wishing, but not expecting. When you expect too much, the disappointment can be cataclysmic.  Especially when dealing with the murder of two beloved people by terrorists.

So, when yesterday afternoon, that same judge, Major Amir Dahan, and his two companions on the bench, spoke for almost an hour and a half, reading their landmark decision, the tension was palpable. The first of the two terrorists was convicted: of first degree murder. For participating the murder of Asher and Yonatan, who were killed by rocks hurled at their car.

This certainly is not a reason for joy. We are all much too well aware that no verdict will ever bring those two holy souls back to their families.  And I don’t live under any illusions. It’s clear that the decision will be appealed. At some point, Israeli absurdity may kick in. And unfortunately, at least as far as previous horror cases show, such as the slaughter of the Fogel family at Itamar, the convicted murderers will not be sentenced to death. They’ll receive tickets to a two or three star hotel, with free room and board, until set free in a ‘prisoner exchange’ or a ‘good-will gesture,’ or some other farcical excuse.

But, even though ‘celebration’ is not the right word to use, at the very least, some sort of satisfaction may be expressed. An official Israeli judicial panel has recognized that rocks can be considered lethal weapons, weapons of terror, utilized to kill Jews.

So, what do we gain? No one can pull the wool over our eyes. All must know:  Murder is murder is murder.  Terror is terror is terror. Jewish lives will not be forsaken.

Kudos for truth.

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