JERUSALEM (Jul. 11)
Stiff sentences were urged by the prosecution today for 15 members of a Jewish terrorist underground who were found guilty by a Jerusalem district court yesterday of acts of violence against Arabs.
The three-judge panel is expected to pronounce sentences on Sunday. The prosecution stressed the violent nature of the crimes for which the defendants stand convicted; the large quantities of arms and explosives they stocked; their uncompromising ideological impulses and lack of remorse. The crimes committed by the terrorists were not the results of temporary aberation, the prosecution contended.
The defendants are allowed to address the court in their own behalf. The first to exercise that right, Yehuda Etzion, described as the No. 2 man in the terrorist ring, told the court today that his involvement in a plot to blow up Islamic shrines on the Temple Mount would be vindicated by history.
He contended it was naive to believe that the Dome of the Rock, also known as the Mosque of Omar, would remain forever. He said action for its removal should be initiated by the State. Etzion also maintained that the court erred in treating the 1980 car bomb attacks on three West Bank Arab mayors as evidence of systemic violence. Two other defendants will address the court tomorrow.