Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Sunday, December 16, 2018, 8:48 The family of Major (Res.) Eliav Gelman , Hy”d, informed the Military Court in Yehuda in writing that they do not intend to attend a deliberation scheduled for 9:00 on Sunday, December 16, during the penalty phase of his murderer’s trial. The reason for their refusal is the exoneration of the terrorist from murder and his conviction on the lesser charge of manslaughter. The family regards the conviction as “a victory for terror and encouragement to carry out terror attacks”. In their letter the family stated that, “The court saw fit to rule that despite the fact that the terrorist intentionally caused the death of Eliav, his intent remains ‘questionable’. Although he was accused of murder the court convicted him of only manslaughter. All of this is due to lack of understanding of what happens in the field and who is responsible for terror attacks.” In their letter the family emphasized that, “Eliav was killed in the war for the right of the Jewish Nation to exist in the inheritance of their forefathers in the Land of Israel. The heinous terrorist is part of an entire system of enemies who are trying to undermine our very existence.” The family continued: “The exoneration of the heinous terrorist from murder on the grounds that his only intent was to commit suicide constitutes an insult and a serious injury to the deceased, his family and to all of Am Yisrael. The verdict constitutes an injury to the fight for our existence in Israel. The exoneration also constitutes a serious blow to the deterrence factor against this evil enemy.” The family also explained that although it is customary during the penalty phase of a murder trial for members of the deceased’s family to testify with regards to the deceased, his good deeds and the great void caused by his absence, the family would not attend the deliberation at the Ofer Military Court because in their opinion it constitutes a victory for terror. “We refuse to participate in this deliberation and we regard it as a victory for terror and encouragement to carry out terror attacks. We regard all of this dealing with terror with criminal judicial consideration, without the terrorist-nationalist context, as giving support to terror and impairing the ability to eradicate terror.” Also, “In the existing situation there is no point in the proceedings for determining the penalty, which will lead to a penalty which does not, even the slightest bit, reflect what befits the murderous terrorist. We hope that the error which was made in the verdict will be rectified, and when the murderer stands trial for murder, we will come to court and relate the extent of the void created by the absence [of Eliav] and the magnitude of the crime, and we will demand that the terrorist not ever see the sun rise. That will also assist in eradicating terror.” The family concluded the letter by strengthening and encouraging the IDF: “We love and value the IDF, who act tirelessly and in every way possible to eradicate terror.” Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the family as victims of terror: “The Gelman family has expressed the feelings of the entire public. All of the systems in the State, including the military courts, are part of the fight against the terror which threatens our existence. The overly merciful treatment and the attempt to ‘humanize’ murderers damages the deterrence factor against terror and harms the fight against terror.” “We expect the legal system to completely change direction, and the acts of terrorists to be tried and penalized in the proper context and not in an unreal setting,” added Bleicher. On February 24, 2016, the terrorist, Mamdouh Yusaf Amro age 26, a resident of Dura in the Har Hevron region arrived at the scene of the attack and walked towards the hitch-hiking stop at the the Etzion Bloc Junction. After arousing the suspicions of the soldiers at the junction, he started to run and waved a knife. Gelman and several civilians were waiting at the hitch-hiking stop. Gelman drew his pistol and charged the terrorist. Unfortunately Gelman was injured by “friendly fire” and tragically died of his wounds. The court ruled that the terrorist is culpable for Gelman’s death, because the shot was fired as a result of his actions.