Judge halts plea bargain deliberation of Barkan terrorist abettor
Rafi Levengrond; Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Monday, August 10, 2020, 8:47 On Sunday August 9, at the Shomron Military Court in Salem, a deliberation took place concerning the plea bargain of Muhamed Kharsa, who is charged with failure to report that Ashraf Na’alwa intended to carry out an attack in the Barkan Industrial Zone*. During the deliberation the prosecution submitted a proposed plea bargain demanding 33 months’ active imprisonment and monetary compensation to the families of the victims, Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, and Ziv Hajbi, Hy”d. Rafi Levengrond, Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel’s father, expressed the opposition of the victims’ families to the proposed penalty and sharply criticized it. Levengrond claimed before the military court that the abettor knew about all of the terrorist’s plans and should not be released in only another year. In response, the judge stopped the deliberation and clarified with the prosecution and the defense what their considerations were with regards to the penalty mentioned in the plea bargain. It turned out that Kharsa is a cousin of Na’alwa and on his own informed other members of the family of the terrorist’s intents. Kharsa, Na’alwa’s cousin, is charged with failure to report that Na’alwa intended to carry out an attack and “die as a shahid”. Na’alwa told Kharsa details of the planned attack and consulted with him concerning potential abettors for carrying out the attack. The indictment points to Kharsa encouraging Na’alwa and inquiring into the plan’s progress. Bleicher is of the opinion that this information reinforces the fact that the terrorist did not act in a vacuum but rather had many abettors to the attack, some of whom actively assisted him, some of whom encouraged him to implement his plan, and some of whom remained silent. In the end, the judge announced that she would not serve as a “rubber stamp” for a penalty of this magnitude and would announce a sentence at a later time. Additionally, the abettor was obligated to place a deposit of 26,000 NIS for the families of the victims. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: “We are pleased with the judge’s statements. Our hope is that a lengthy prison sentence will be handed down to the defendant in response to the defense, who tried to justify his client’s actions by claiming that because the defendant is the terrorist’s cousin, he feared the reaction of their town’s residents if he reported the planned attack. This proves how important it is to have a substantial penalty that will stop the well-oiled terror industry and constitute a deterrence with the capability to prevent attacks. Potential abettors must fear the consequences of assisting a terrorist and of not reporting a potential terrorist’s intents.” *Ashraf Na’alwa murdered Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, and Ziv Hajbi, Hy”d, in a terror attack in the Barkan Industrial Park on October 7, 2018.