The Samaria IDF military court sentenced Nawaf Fad on Tuesday to six years in jail for the shooting which resulted in the death of Ben Yosef Livnat in 2011.
Livnat, a 25 year old father of four, went to Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus (Shechem) on an unscheduled visit in 2011 to pray. Palestinian Police opened fire on the three-car convoy, killing Porat and injuring four others.
Fad admitted that he shot directly at the car Livnat was in, and that he saw one of his bullets strike him. Nonetheless, the court decided that since it could not determine which PA policeman fired the fatal shots, this constituted “reasonable doubt”. They could not convict Fad of murder and charged him with “shooting towards a person”. Fahd was also convicted of obstruction of justice since immediately after the shooting he picked up his empty cartridges and threw stones over the crime scene in an attempt to obscure his involvement.
Merav Khoury, a lawyer for Palestinian Authority security defendants, asked that Fad be released since he has already served four years in prison since 2013. As a precedent, he cited the recent 18-month-sentence of soldier Elor Azaria who was convicted of killing a terrorist after he was already neutralized.
Attorney Haim Bleicher of the Honenu legal organization decried the decision.
“The defendant explicitly admitted that he had shot at the victim’s car and even admitted that he had hit him,” explained Bleicher. “In addition, a bullet was found in the victim’s vehicle that matched the shooting trajectory described by the defendant in his confession. All evidence indicates that the defendant was the only one who fired at the vehicle of the murdered person.”
“The court on its own entertained illogical scenarios that another terrorist might have caused the harm,” Bleicher said, adding that they would appeal.
The victim was the nephew of Limor Livnat, a former minister and member of Knesset for Likud. She told Israel Radio Tuesday evening that the court adopted a scenario favoring the defendant which even the defense had not raised.
Bleicher also said the court violated the family’s rights by forbidding them from speaking about the case after the ruling.
“The court and the judges after the verdict were impervious to and ignored the murder victim’s family and their rights as victims,” said Bleicher. “The judges tried to distance the murder victim’s family from the case despite the fact that it is also clear in the verdict that the terrorist played an active part in the murder and in tampering with the evidence.”
“This constitutes a double blow to the family, one by the terrorist and a second time by the judges’ misconduct,” he said.
The IDF West Bank prosecutor plans to appeal the sentence.