Rafi Levengrond (L), Guy Yehezkel (R); Photo credit: Honenu
Monday, February 24, 2020, 14:44 Update: On March 19, the Shomron Military Court imposed an 18-month prison sentence, a suspended sentence, and a 3,000 NIS fine on Walid Suleiman Mahmoud Na’alwa, the father of the Barkan terrorist. On Tuesday, February 25, the Shomron Military Court in Salem will sentence the father of the Barkan terrorist. The families of the murder victims, Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, and Ziv Hajbi, Hy”d, requested that the Attorney General’s office appeal the decision. Members of Levengrond-Yehezkel’s family are expected to be present at the deliberation, as is Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the victims’ families. In February, Shomron Military Court Judge Lieutenant Colonel Samzar Shagog ruled that the father of the Barkan terrorist had known that his son possessed a weapon, but had not been aware that his son intended to carry out the October 2018 attack. The father was convicted only of failure to prevent possession of a weapon and was exonerated from the crime of failure to prevent the attack. Bleicher strongly criticized the verdict: “The defendant, the father of the terrorist, knew that his son possessed a weapon and was training with it. It is impossible to exculpate the father of the terrorist of responsibility for carrying out the attack. Moreover, the terrorist’s mother stated that she had reported to the father their son’s intentions, in an attempt to reduce her culpability for the attack and to receive a lighter penalty. This is a family who raised a terrorist and did not prevent the attack. Only attributing complete culpability to the family and handing down a severe penalty will help prevent the next attack. “If we want to stop the terror then we must not enter into specious legal arguments of a pedantic, over-exacting type. On one hand the penalty imposed on the mother of the terrorist was lenient, because she had told her husband about their son’s intentions so that he could deal with them, and on the other, they claim that it cannot be proven that the father knew about the intentions of their son. The father unequivocally knew, and he must be convicted of failure to prevent the attack. We will demand that the Military Advocate General appeal this ruling so that the father of the terrorist will be convicted of failure to prevent the attack and sentenced to many years in prison.” Family members of Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, were present during the deliberation and also denounced the decision to exonerate the father of the terrorist: “They convicted the father, all in all, of failure to prevent possession of the weapon, and not of failure to prevent the attack. Of course he knew, and in the other hearings the brother of the terrorist and his mother admitted that they had told the father [about the planned attack]. Everyone told him, and he didn’t know? The judge, of course, didn’t pay attention to that. We must not keep quiet about this. “There are photographs which prove that the son possessed a weapon. The father sent his son to a Fatah camp. What did he expect from that, if not murder? How can they ignore that and why do they believe the father? It seems as if they are looking for the most minor charge, so that they can fulfill a minimum obligation [to prosecute] and not go deeply into the case. The judge should have made more of an effort before he handed down his ruling.” Walid Suleiman Mahmoud Na’alwa, the father of the Barkan terrorist, was charged with failure to prevent the attack and with failure to prevent possession of a weapon. According to the bill of indictment his wife told him that she had heard Ashraf (the terrorist) target shooting near their house and that Ashraf told her that he had a weapon. The father of the terrorist pleaded with his son to sell the weapon. However he did not inform anyone else of the situation. Two weeks before the Barkan terror attack the terrorist told his mother that, “he was fed up with life and intended to carry out an attack and die as a ‘shahid’. Additionally Ashraf warned Wafa (his mother) that the army was liable to come to the house in order to conduct searches.” Also of those intents the mother of the terrorist informed his father, who tried to dissuade him of his intent. According to the bill of indictment, “Even though the defendant knew that his son Ashraf possessed a weapon and intended to carry out an attack, the defendant did not inform any authority and did not act in a reasonable manner to prevent the crime which Ashraf committed.” As stated above, Honenu will demand that the Military Advocate General appeal the ruling exonerating the father of the terrorist from failure to prevent the attack.