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Palestinian jailed for life for killing occupation soldier during camp raid

Israeli soldiers take aim at Palestinian protestors in Nablus, in the Occupied West Bank [13 October 2015]
Israeli military forces in Ramallah, West Bank

A Palestinian man has been jailed for life by an Israeli military court after being convicted of killing an Israeli soldier during a Ramallah-area raid by occupation forces last year.

Islam Yousef Abu Hamid, who was convicted in April, was also ordered to pay the soldier’s family 258,000 shekels ($73,133).

Acquittals for Palestinians in Israeli military courts are extremely rare, and the military court system has been denounced by many international human rights organisations.

The incident in question took place on 24 May, when a number of Israeli occupation forces raided Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, in the central West Bank.

During the attack on the camp, a block of granite was dropped from a rooftop, hitting Israeli soldier Ronen Lubarsky, who served in the Duvdevan unit. He later died of his injuries.

Abu Hamid was subsequently detained and charged with throwing the rock that killed Lubarsky. Even before his conviction, Israeli occupation forces demolished Abu Hamid’s family home, as part of a policy of collective punishment condemned by human rights campaigners.

READ: After army’s denial, rights group proves Israel soldier shot child in head with live fire

According to the Times of Israel, the soldier’s family – supported by some politicians – slammed the life sentence and demanded Abu Hamid be executed. The father called the sentence “a shame and an embarrassment for the Israeli justice system”.

The family had also sought compensation of five million shekels ($1.4 million), based on an estimation of what Abu Hamid would receive in prisoner support payments from the Palestinian Authority for the duration of his sentence.

Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman responded to the sentencing by declaring that execution would be “the right and just punishment for the murder which was meticulously planned by the contemptible terrorist”.

“It is a pity that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu for four years has been torpedoing our demand to legislate the death penalty for terrorists law,” he added.

READ: British MPs condemn killing of Palestinian medics by Israel forces in Gaza

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