JERUSALEM (Dec. 10)
An Israeli Arab convicted of killing a soldier narrowly escaped the death penalty in a Nablus military court Thursday.
Ahmad Ali Abu-Jabar, of Kfar Kassem near Petach Tikva, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of IDF soldier Akiva, Shealtiel on April 6, 1985.
Two of the three judges hearing the case favored the death penalty, but it was not imposed because the prosecutor failed to demand capital punishment and one of the judges dissented. The death penalty cannot be imposed without a unanimous vote of judges trying a case.
Col. Yehoshua Halevy, president of the court, in fact reprimanded the prosecutor. He said the death penalty was called for in this case, because the accused is a citizen of Israel who betrayed his country by killing a soldier.
According to the authorities, Abu-Jabar belonged to an Al Fatah terrorist gang, which tried several times to kidnap Israeli soldiers, finally succeeding with Shealtiel. After his murder, they fired at a bus and tried to kill a local leader in the Arab town of Kalkilya whom they suspected of collaboration with the Israeli authorities.
During the sentencing procedures, Shealtiel’s family tried to attack the defendant. He was rushed into an adjoining room under the protection of soldiers.