Updated: Jun 13
Sunday, May 28, 2023, 8:33 In late May, the Military Advocate General filed a lenient plea bargain with the Military Court in Yehuda regarding Amar el-Khatib, the terrorist who attacked an IDF soldier outside the Nabi Musa military base in May 2021. El-Khatib injured the soldier and attempted to steal his weapon for the purpose of carrying out a terror attack. In the plea bargain, the Military Advocate General asked the court to sentence el-Khatib to only 40 months’ imprisonment and award 8,000 NIS in compensation to the soldier.
At a court hearing, the soldier and Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing him, expressed their objection to the plea bargain. The soldier told the judges, “I would like you to understand what I felt, the feeling of facing death for ten full minutes. One does not see anything in real-time. One fears death and fights, and it does not end. It is a battle of life and death… I felt as if I were going to die. It was attempted murder. I thought that the terrorist would receive a sentence of at least 15 years’ imprisonment. Knowing that he will be released soon brings back all of my fears.” Additionally, the soldier described for the judges the injuries he has coped with since the attack.
Attorney Bleicher strongly criticized the plea bargain: "The terrorist attempted to steal a weapon from a soldier, sprayed him with pepper spray, and punched him repeatedly. The struggle was a matter of life or death. The soldier miraculously managed to overcome the terrorist thanks to his courage. It is incredible for a terrorist like this to be granted such a lenient plea bargain. One can imagine what would have happened if the terrorist had succeeded in his plan and stolen the loaded M16. It is incredible that in two and a half years the terrorist will be released and have another opportunity to carry out an attack. One does not need a doctorate in order to understand the significance of stealing a dangerous weapon from a soldier in the Yehuda and Shomron regions.
“The soldier, who saw his life pass before his eyes for ten minutes, was greatly injured. However, if he had not fought valiantly, the potential for injury would have been far greater still. The terrorist has not been sentenced yet. The responsibility to examine whether or not the plea bargain is reasonable rests on the shoulders of the court. We demand that the court do what is incumbent upon it and cancel the plea bargain. The court must sentence the terrorist to as many years of imprisonment as is possible,” added Attorney Bleicher.
The attack occurred in May 2021. The soldier, who was serving in the Kfir Brigade at the time, was standing at a bus stop near the Nabi Musa military base. El-Khatib drove by, identified a soldier, stopped, got out of his car, sprayed the soldier with pepper spray, and attempted to steal his weapon. The soldier struggled with the terrorist for ten minutes and overcame him with the assistance of a border police officer who arrived on the scene. The soldier was injured multiple times during the struggle and felt that his life was threatened.