RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A German-Israeli settler who fled to Brazil after killing a Palestinian will be extradited to serve his sentence in the Jewish state.
Brazil’s Supreme Court decided unanimously on Wednesday to accede to an Israeli request to extradite Yehoshua Elitzur back to Israel to serve a prison sentence for killing Palestinian taxi driver Sael Jabara al-Shatiya in 2004. Judge Luis Roberto Barroso hailed the Israeli government’s effort to punish the settler and read a report from Brazil’s umbrella Jewish organization, the Brazilian Israelite Confederation.
According to the indictment against him, Elitzur flagged down Shatiya, who was driving toward him in a van on Route 557 near the Elon Moreh settlement. Armed with an M-16, Elitzur stood in the middle of the road and demanded the Palestinian halt and get out of the car. Shatiya did not stop where Elitzur demanded, continued driving and began to pull over further down the road on the shoulder, at which point Elitzur shot and killed him.
Elitzur, 46, claimed that he had acted in self-defense, and that Shatiya was trying to run him off the road, but witnesses at the scene denied this claim. He was initially accused of murder, but was convicted of manslaughter after prosecutors could not prove he had intended to kill Shatiya.
Elitzur, who also holds German citizenship, was placed under house arrest in the Itamar settlement and eventually convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder. However, he was able to use his German passport to successfully board an airplane out of Israel. He was caught ten years later in Sao Paulo at his hideout, a kosher restaurant.
According to Brazilian authorities, Elitzur entered the country with false identification and lived there until 2015, when he was finally arrested after Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for him. Israel and Brazil signed an extradition agreement in 2009.