JERUSALEM (Oct. 12)
A military tribunal in this city today found eight border patrolmen guilty of murder and acquitted three others of charges growing out of the killing of 47 Arab residents of Kafr Kassem an Arab village inside Israel, on the night of October 29, 1956, when Israeli troops jumped off in their penetration of the Sinai desert and the Gaza Strip.
Among the eight convicted Israeli policemen were three officers, one of whom, Major Shmuel Malinki, gave instructions that day to “implement without mercy, “a curfew which had been imposed by military government on Arab border villages. The slain villagers were returning from their fields at dark, ignorant that a curfew had been imposed.
The presiding judge, Dr. Benjamin Halevi, announced the verdict before reading the judgment, which is expected to take two days. He noted that in accordance with Talmudic precepts, the court was impelled to end “torture” of the defendants and to lower the suspense. The convicted defendants, in addition to Maj. Malinki, are:
Capt. Gabriel Dehan, who led the patrol and who ordered the firing; Cpl. Shalom Offer; Gabriel Olial; Maklouf Kharuh; Eliahu Abraham; Albert Fakhima and Edmund Nachmani. The acquitted were Daniel Samnitz, a recent arrival from Yugoslavia when the incident occurred, and two Circassian, members of a non-Jewish minority community near Nazareth.
Shortly after the killings occurred in the North Galilee village the 11 members of the patrol were arrested and charged. Their trial began in January 1957. Sentences are expected to be announced at the conclusion of the reading of the judgment.