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Arab Who Stabbed Four Women Sentenced to Four Life Terms

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A Gaza Arab who stabbed four Jewish women to death last month in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Yovel neighborhood was given four life sentences in magistrate court here Monday.

Judge Ya’acov Bazak, who pronounced the sentences, said he wished he had the legal power to impose the death penalty on the defendant, 26-year-old Mohammed Abu-Jalala, a resident of the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Israel does not have capital punishment, except for crimes perpetrated during the Holocaust. Last month, only days after the stabbings, the Knesset decisively rejected the death penalty for terrorists.

But the punishment accorded Abu-Jalala “is insufficient for the magnitude of this crime,” the judge said. The women were murdered only because they were Jewish, he said.

None of their families was in court for the sentencing.

Abu-Jalala attacked the women at a bus stop near a popular playground in the Kiryat Yovel section of western Jerusalem on March 10, shouting, “Allahu Akhbar” (God is Great).

He told police later that the killings were “a message for Baker,” a reference to U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, who was due in Israel the following day for diplomatic talks.

Meanwhile, the High Court of Justice ordered a halt Monday to deportation proceedings against four Palestinian activists from the Gaza Strip until the hearing of their case is concluded.

The four appealed to the court Sunday after a military appeals board rejected their plea. The court will review their case this week.

The expulsion of the four — Jamal Yassin Hassan Abu-Habal, 33; Muin Mohammed Mussalam, 31; Hashem Mohammed Dahalan, 31; and Jamal Abu-Jidian, 33 — was ordered March 23 by Gen. Mattan Vilnai, Israel Defense Force commander in the southern region. Although none of the four was linked to the recent spate of stabbings, the IDF branded them “hard-core terrorists.”

Nevertheless, the deportation orders have been strongly protested by the United States and the United Nations.

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