Friday, March 17, 2023

Dizengoff terrorist was a child Hamas soldier, had promised at his second sentencing "there won't be a third time"

Kan News reports that the Dizengoff terrorist was previously convicted twice of security offenses, and promised the court: "There will not be a third time."

Moataz Al-Khawaja, a 23 year old from Ni'lin, was a Hamas terrorist. He did not have a residence permit and crossed the separation fence illegally in the Maccabim area. Last Thursday he illegally crossed into Israel, arrived at the Gotcha restaurant on Dizengoff Street, and shot three patrons in the area, seriously injuring two before he was killed.

Khawaja was first arrested about six years ago, when he was 17 years old. He was convicted of shooting at a military force, firing ten bullets fired from a distance of about 80 meters, and the Israeli forces returned fire. The child terrorist asked for a lighter sentence so that he could return to school, and was sentenced to a year and ten months in prison. He was also sentenced to a year of probation, with the condition that he not commit any weapons-related offenses in the next three years.

But less than three years later, the terrorist was again convicted - this time for buying a "Carlo" type weapon, for 4,000 NIS. This time the terrorist made a commitment to the court: "There will not be a third time. I intend to start studying at university. I'm engaged and intend to get married."

The military judge who convicted the terrorist warned: "Arms trafficking creates a great danger to the public. A significant concern in the region is the transfer of weapons to hostile hands, and from there it is only a short path to harming innocents. Possession of weapons for the purpose of 'self-defense' should not be taken lightly either."

Even so, the military judge accepted the lenient plea deal, and the terrorist was sent to one year and three months in prison. The judge justified his decision, saying, "The plea agreement actually makes it easier for the accused. The plea bargain is justified by saving judicial time by his admitting to the crime. The accused has difficult circumstances at home, and he suffers from health problems."

Khawaja's father, Sheikh Salah al-Khawaja, is a well known Hamas leader in Ni'lin who has had a number of arrests. It is astonishing that either the judge didn't know this or they ignored it when sentencing Moataz the second time. Moreover, his promise to go to college, that helped ensure his lighter sentence, was a lie - he never finished high school. So was his intention to get married. 

The judge's willingness to believe the lies of a twice-caught terrorist helped ensure that Khawaja would have a third chance.

(h/t iTiIL972)

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