Ofer - Stone Throwing, Acquittal

Observers: 
Tamar Goldschmidt, Aya Kaniuk, Nitza Aminov (reporting)
25/05/2014
|
Morning

 

Translation: Marganit W.

 

Military Court of Appeals

Deputy President : Lieut.-Col. Zvi Lekah

Appellant: The military prosecution (represented by Lieut. Asher Silver)

Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati

 

Respondents:

Fuad Ibrahim Ismail Alnuaja – ID 910568732

Muhammad Halil Salame Nuaja – ID 8527803111

Amran Ismail Salame Nuaja – ID 938138534

 

The Military prosecution is appealing the acquittal of the three respondents You can read an account of the case in Haim Levinson’s article in Haaretz, 2.1.2014 entitled: “For first time Palestinians acquited of stone throwing”.

For the first time in its history, a military court acquitted three Palestinians charged with throwing rocks at a settler – because the police did not charge the settler, who also threw rocks. The judge stated that such discrimination is unjustifiable.

The incident occurred in January 2011 near Susya in South Mt. Hebron. According to a film shot by a “B’tzelem” volunteer who was present on the scene, Ilan Vilande from Mitzpe Yair outpost and three members of the Nuaja family from Palestinian Susya were on the scene. Vilande threw rocks at the Palestinians and a scuffle ensued. The police arrested the three Palestinians and the military prosecution pressed charges – Vilande, however, was not charged.

Atty. Ramati argued that the charges should be dropped for the sake of equitable Abuse of Process argument). In the past, the court has recognized this argument, but no Palestinian has ever been acquitted because a Jew had committed the same violation without being charged.

Justice Captain Meir Vissiger decided to acquit the defendants.  This is the background of the case.

 

The prosecutor began with an update: “last week we were told by the prosecution (the police in Judea and Samaria) that the case against Ilan Vilande has been dropped for lack of evidence. Atty. Ramati pointed out that this is selective enforcement of the law, adding, “Clearly, today, 3 years after the incident, conviction will be hard to obtain. The problem is that the incident has not been investigated until the earlier court decided to acquit. It is selective enforcement when both sides complain, but the court believes only one side. The problem is not only in the final result. I maintain that there is a problem along the entire process.”

As a lay person my impression of the long and convoluted arguments of the prosecutor is, that he was very unconvincing as to why Vilende was not investigated. For instance, we heard the sentence, ”There may be a discrepancy between the reality and the legal statement… The prosecution can base its case only on the material given to it….”

And I wonder if in Palestinians’ investigations the prosecution can base its case only on what is given to it… and I try not to think how the material is obtained…

The judge did not hand down a decision. Atty. Ramati asked for a time limit on the prosecution’s response.  The judge gave it one week.

Searching the web for information about the case I found several references to Ilan Vilande, of whom (and the like of whom), Yeshayahu Leibowitz gave a very apt definition.