JERUSALEM (Aug. 19)
A West Bank Jewish settlement leader who killed a Palestinian youth in the early days of the intifada will serve no time in jail.
Pinchas Wallerstein, chairman of the Match Binyamin regional council in the Ramallah region, was fined $3,400 and sentenced to four months’ public service Monday for “causing death through negligence.”
But Jerusalem District Court Judge Ezra Hadaya added a 12-month suspended sentence, which could be invoked over a two-year period.
The incident occurred early in 1988 when Wallerstein, driving to his home settlement of Ofra in the West Bank, encountered stone-throwing youths near the Arab village of Beitin.
By his account, he left his car and fired his Uzi submachine gun into the air. When the attack continued, he fired into the ground. Ricocheting bullets killed one youth and wounded another.
Wallerstein insisted at his trial that he acted in self-defense. But in a plea bargain last week, he admitted firing his weapon “irresponsibly.”
The prosecution reduced the charge from killing to negligence and agreed to ask for no more than six months in jail.