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West Bank Jewish Settler Jailed for Shooting Arab Youth

A Jewish settler in the West Bank was sentenced to two years in prison for shooting an Arab youth and four other settlers have been charged with willfully demolishing the home of a Hebron Arab in two cases involving residents of Kiryat Arba, the Orthodox township adjacent to Hebron.

A Jerusalem district court imposed the two-year term on Eliezer Itzkovitz who was employed by the municipality of El Bireh, an Arab town north of Jerusalem, at the time of the shooting last July. One year of the sentence was suspended.

Itzkovitz admitted that he fired a rifle to disperse Arab youths who had been stoning the municipality. He claimed he fired into the air but after finding himself surrounded by the alleged stone-throwers, he aimed at their legs. The youngster who was hit knelt down at that moment and was struck in the hip, Itzkovitz said. He pleaded self-defense.

The court rejected that version, saying the youth was wounded in the back. “One must consider not only the hooligan aspects of this act but also the considerable damage that it caused to the rule of law in the territories, its effects on the State’s ability to protect the population it is in charge of, and the opportunity it offers the State’s enemies which seek to besmirch the State,” the court said.

In the other case, the State prosecutor filed charges in a Jerusalem magistrates court against four Kiryat Arba men suspected of levelling an Arab’s house in Hebron with a tractor. Three of the suspects are employes of the Kiryat Arba municipal council and the fourth is Mayor Shalom Wach of Kiryat Arba who is accused of inciting the others.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has upheld a decision by the West Bank military commander to seal off the houses of Arab youths in the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem after the youths allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles on the Jerusalem-Hebron road.

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