The Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported on Thursday that the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced three Israelis to 13-years in prison after convicting them of driving a Palestinian suicide bomber. The Palestinian allegedly carried out a bombing near the Netanya shopping mall in 2005 in which five Israelis were killed.
Haaretz added that the three men — Kfir Levy from Ramat Gan, Seif Azzam from Taibeh and Abed Abu Al-Mokh from Baqa Al Gharbiyya were all convicted of manslaughter for the crime of driving the bomber from the occupied West Bank into Israel.
The suicide bombing took place in July 2005 at a crosswalk close to the Sharon Mall in Netanya; five Israelis were killed and 30 were injured.
The three Israeli men were not only convicted of ma slaughter, but also of thirty counts of “causing grievous bodily harm” to the Israelis injured in the bombing.
The court stated in its ruling that two of the convicted, Seif Azzam and Kfir Levy, smuggled the bomber from the West Bank into Israel, and that on the day of the bombing Assaf Zahran, the handler of the bomber, phoned Azzam and asked him to drive a man into Israel.
According to the Haaretz report, Azam and Levy were paid NIS 1000 for the ride and crossed the “Green Line” between Israel and the Palestinian territories, in Levy’s car.
The Israeli prosecution said that Azam and Levy suspected that they were driving a suicide bomber but still drove him into Israel.
Also, the prosecution stated that Azam inspected one of the bags that the bomber was carrying but the bomber refused to allow him to check the other bag, and he gave in.
According to the Haaretz report, one of the things that raised suspicion for the judge in the case is that Azam and Levi carried only two Palestinians in their vehicle that day (the bomber and his handler), while they normally would carry as many as ten Palestinians, and that the bomber and his handler paid five times more than the regular price.