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Israeli court acquits settler who justified killing soldiers evicting settlements

Israeli soldiers intervene in Palestinians demonstrating against the Jewish settlements and the separation wall on 28 June, 2019 at Qafr Qaddum village in Nablus, West Bank [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

A Jewish Israeli resident of notorious West Bank settlement Yitzhar has been acquitted from charges of incitement, despite justifying the killing of Israeli soldiers.

According to Haaretz, the settler was originally indicted for social media posts he published in 2014, concerning the imperative of resisting evacuation of settlements.

Nahum Ariel, 25, wrote: “there isn’t a single prohibition in halakha [Jewish law] against killing a soldier conducting a nighttime eviction”.

Israeli occupation authorities occasionally dismantle settlement buildings constructed without Israeli-issued permits, prompting angry protests from settler activists.

Are Israeli settlers really innocent? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.

In another post, alongside a picture of a police officer, Ariel wrote: “This scumbag is called N.S. He’s a religious dog who just took part in the arrest of a woman from our settlement”.

READ: Palestinian jailed for life for killing occupation soldier during camp raid

The judge, however, this month accepted the defense argument that Ariel’s posts “did not constitute incitement or a criminal insult to a public servant”.

The judge “added that he does not think Ariel’s words are likely to incite someone to actual violence and that there is no factual basis needed to convict him of the crime”.

Ariel’s lawyer hailed the decision: “Censorship of ideas is unacceptable in an open society, but there are times when it is carried out selectively, and only against those whose opinions are not accepted by the prosecution”.

Palestinians – both in the occupied Palestinian territory and those with Israeli citizenship – are routinely investigated, indicted, and jailed, for ‘incitement’ based on social media posts.

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