Palestinians sentenced for West Bank operations

Palestinians sentenced for West Bank operations
An Israeli court has sentenced a Palestinian to life for a bus attack in Jerusalem, while the sentencing of a high-profile child prisoner has been deferred until January.
2 min read
11 July, 2016
Bilal Abu Ghanem was one of two Palestinians who carried out the October attack [Getty]
An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian to life in prison on Monday for an alleged shooting and stabbing attack on a Jerusalem bus.

Bilal Abu Ghanem was one of two Palestinians who carried out the October 13 operation that killed two Israelis and a US-Israeli dual national.

The second alleged attacker, Bahaa Allyan, was shot dead during the attack.

According to the court, Abu Ghanem, a resident of the east Jerusalem Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood, opened fire on the bus with a pistol, shooting 14 rounds, while Allyan reportedly attacked passengers.

The Jerusalem district court sentenced Abu Ghanem, 22, to three life sentences plus 60 years for murder and attempted murder, among other charges.

He was also ordered to pay 1.45 million shekels ($373,000/338,000 euros) in compensation to victims' families, including four people wounded and the bus driver.

When leaving the court, Abu Ghanem, who was imprisoned in 2013 for membership in the Hamas movement, said the attack was in part meant as revenge for violations of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

"There are aggressions on our women and on our al-Aqsa Mosque," he said as guards sought to hurry him past journalists. "Retaliation should be like that."

The bus attack was part of an uprising that began in October after Israeli security forces stormed al-Aqsa.  

At least 214 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces since then. Most were shot dead during protests and clashes, while some were killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.

The violence has steadily declined in recent months, though attacks continue to occur, including the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old girl by a Palestinian in her home in a settlement in the occupied West Bank on June 30.

A sentencing hearing in another high-profile case was postponed until September 22 on Monday.

In that case, Ahmed Manasra, 14, has been convicted of the attempted murder of two Israelis in a knife attack in October. 

He and his 15-year-old cousin stabbed and seriously wounded a 20-year-old and a 12-year-old boy in the Jewish settlement neighbourhood of Pisgat Zeev in east Jerusalem.

Ahmed found himself at the centre of a storm of controversy when a video of him lying bleeding – while Israeli settlers yelled abuse at him – went viral.

Following the video, Israel alleged that Ahmed and his cousin, Hassan, who was shot dead at the scene, were attempting to stab Israelis living in Jewish-only settlements built on occupied Palestinian land deemed illegal under international law.

Ahmed's pain, caught on camera, led to him being dubbed as a symbol of the oppression of Palestinian children.