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Verdict in Zemora terror attack case: Not attempted murder

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 21:12 Nirit Zemora, the victim in the case, responded to the verdict: “We expected the court to come out with a clear and unequivocal statement that a court of law in the State of Israel will not be a party to the murder of Jews. Unfortunately that did not happen here.” On Wednesday, April 11, the Ofer Military Court exonerated of attempted murder Hevron resident Hamza Faiz, the terrorist who stabbed and seriously injured Nirit Zemora, an Etzion Bloc resident, in a terror attack at the Etzion Bloc Intersection parking lot on October 28, 2015. Faiz ran towards Zemora with a knife in his hand and called out “Allah akbar” as he stabbed her in the back. Military Judges Lieutenant Colonel Tzvi Heilbron and Major Haim Baliti ruled that it was not possible to prove that the terrorist had the intent to kill and convicted him of aggravated assault and possessing a knife. When the verdict was read, the Zemora and her family began to shout in court that the attack had been an attempted murder. The family and Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher were outraged by verdict and by the judges who ruled that it was not possible to determine that the terrorist stabbed Zemora with the intent to kill. The judges ruled that there was a possibility that the terrorist had intended to only injure Zemora: “To clarify, the existence of a nationalistic motive to carry out the stabbing does not automatically lead to a determination that the intent was to cause the death of the victim. As the learned attorney for the defense emphasized, also during a nationalistically motivated stabbing the intent to kill must be specifically determined. And when a doubt arises as to whether the intent was specifically to kill or to cause injury, that acts in favor of the defendant. Thus we behaved in this instance,” wrote the judges. Nirit Zemora, the injured party in the case, responded to the verdict by leveling sharp criticism at the court: “A few minutes ago we returned home and we are unable to be calmed. We feel that Jewish blood has been held in contempt. It is obvious to any thinking person, and based on facts, that the terrorist intended to murder. There is no question here. For two and a half years already I have been walking around ‘with a knife in my back’. My entire family and I must cope constantly with many issues and the consequences are burdensome. We feel as if the judges are holding this knife. This knife is in all of our hearts. It is a knife in the heart of all the families who are victims of terror, and G-d forbid of the next victims to come under the auspices of the court. We expected the court to come out with a clear and unequivocal statement that a court of law in the State of Israel will not be a party to the murder of Jews. Unfortunately that did not happen here. It is important to us to stress that these words are written out of a great love for our State and particularly because of that love our shock is so deep.” Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing Zemora and her family in the legal proceedings, stated that, “The judges must not disconnect the nationalistic motive from the despicable act. When a terrorist stabs a Jew it is obvious that his intent is to murder. Exonerating the terrorist of the crime of attempted murder constitutes contempt for the injured and contempt for the struggle for existence with which Israeli citizens must cope. We will work towards having the Military Advocate General file an appeal on the verdict and thus rectifying the injustice.” Yedidya, the son of the terror victim, wrote on his Facebook page a heartbreaking post sharply criticizing the judges: “Today, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day on which we commemorate the murder of Jews who were murdered solely for being Jews, the judges of the Israeli Defense Forces did not recognize the attempted murder of a Jew solely for being a Jew. “My mother did not get into a fist-fight with some punk. Someone attempted to murder my mother out of a nationalistic motive. “In court they dared to argue about the length of the knife and did not accept her attorney’s statement about the length. They accepted only the claim by the attorney for the defense on the matter! And I ask, what does it matter what the length was of the blade with which he planned my mother’s murder, to turn us into orphans and our father into a widower? According to eye-witnesses he ran at my mother with a raised knife while shouting ‘Allah hu akbar’. What do you think he intended to do?”

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