An Israeli court has overturned the conviction of a Jewish settler filmed stoning Palestinian cars in Hebron, the occupied West Bank, reported Haaretz.
According to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge, the decision was taken following a report by the probation officer claiming that the accused “takes responsibility for committing the crime”.
Instead, the right-wing activist was sentenced to pay 400 shekels ($112) in compensation to two Palestinian car owners whose vehicles were vandalised.
The case goes back to 2014, when settler activist Noam Federman and his son Oved “hurled rocks at parked Palestinian cars”, allegedly in response to having stones thrown at them by Palestinians.
As Israeli human rights group B’Tselem published video footage of the settlers’ attack, “the two were indicted and Noam Federman was sentenced to 40 hours of community service”.
In the decision Monday, Judge Ilan Sela wrote: “The accused was almost a minor when he committed the crime…In this case, we should look at the future and not the past, and the convicted shall pay each of the owners of the cars 200 shekels.”
The judge added that from the report of the probation officer in the case, “one learns that the accused…would have acted otherwise today”, adding: “he explained his reasons for committing the crime, reasons that cannot be listed here in order to protect his privacy.”
The defendant’s attorney Itamar Ben Gvir – a notorious far-right activist – said: “The court undoubtedly took into consideration the circumstances surrounding the defendants’ heroic act of stopping their car and chasing a rock-thrower.”