JERUSALEM — The two teenage cousins met after school, discussed the tensions surrounding the Aqsa Mosque and other issues angering the Palestinians. They decided to avenge their grievances with knives.
The younger one, Ahmad Manasra, 13, took a decorative six-inch blade from a cupboard in his parents’ bedroom, according to newly released legal documents. Hassan Manasra, 15, armed himself with a large kitchen knife. The pair then set off for a neighboring Jewish area of East Jerusalem.
Details of the case emerged on Monday when an Israeli court sentenced Ahmad to 12 years in prison for his role in the October 2015 stabbing attack that critically wounded an Israeli boy, who was 13 at the time, and wounded an Israeli man. Hassan was fatally shot by police officers as he ran at them with his knife near the scene of the stabbings.
Grainy security camera footage that partly captured those events provided some of the most enduring images of the wave of violence that began that month and has since largely subsided.
The trial was not public because of the young age of the defendant. He was convicted in May of two counts of attempted murder.
According to legal documents released in the Jerusalem District Court’s sentencing decision, lawyers representing Ahmad argued that he had not actually stabbed anyone but that Hassan, the ringleader, had stabbed the victims. The state prosecutor called for “zero tolerance” toward young perpetrators, saying the court needed to send a message to deter others.
The panel of three judges wrote, “The accused and his partner equipped themselves in advance with sharp knives and sought to stab any Jew they came across and did not desist from stabbing a 13-year-old boy who was riding his bicycle near his house, in front of his younger brother.”
The young victim, Naor Ben-Ezra, was leaving a candy store when he was stabbed four times in the neck and armpit, according to the court documents. He was taken to the hospital and received lifesaving treatment, the court said. The adult victim, a yeshiva student aged around 21, was wounded in the stomach and chest and suffered lung and liver damage.
Ahmad is described in the court documents as a boy from a typical family who put effort into his schoolwork but got mediocre results. He spent his spare time in usual pursuits for a teenager, mostly playing in the yard with his cousins.
He took responsibility for his actions and, according to the judges, expressed regret, saying he was “sorry about what happened with the boy.”
The same court on Monday sentenced a Palestinian woman to 11 years in prison for igniting a gas-filled balloon in her car and setting off an explosion, wounding herself and a police officer, as she approached a checkpoint in the West Bank in October 2015.
In another case, the court sentenced two Palestinian teenagers to 11 years in prison for a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem in January in which one civilian was wounded. The attackers were aged 14 and 16 at the time.
(via NY Times)