Ahmad Manasra, 14, the Arab terrorist who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood a year ago, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday.
The Jerusalem District Court also ordered Manasra to pay his victims NIS 180,000 in compensation and sentenced him to two years suspended sentence.
Judge Yoram Noam wrote in his sentencing that “Recently, we’ve seen that even younger children, who are the defendant’s age, 14-16, take active part in acts of terrorism. However, the fact they are minors does not confer immunity … particularly when a serious crime is committed.”
The judge went on to note that “The punishment should express society’s aversion of such acts—which are designed to kill for nationalistic reasons—particularly in light of the ongoing wave of terror attacks that has been plaguing Israel. Leniency could send the wrong message to the public.”
The teen terrorist was convicted in May of two counts of attempted murder and one count of arms possession after he and 15-year-old cousin Hassan Mahani stabbed and critically wounded 13-year-old Naor Shalev Ben-Ezra and wounded 21-year-old Yosef Ben-Shalom. Mahani was killed in the attack.
The judges rejected Manasra’s claim that he did not plan on killing his victims, only wound them, defining it “not credible” and noting that “the defendant was involved in the decision to kill Jews, including a minor. This is part of a series of deadly stabbings that logic cannot accept were done without the intention to kill.”
When Manasra was convicted in May, one of his victims, Naor Ben-Ezra, arrived in court with his father Shai.
While Naor was too emotional to speak, his father said: “I hope the court learns the lesson so cases like this do not happen again. To see a child who is my son’s age trying to stab him is very painful and upsetting, it feels like there’s no one you can trust. Children are supposed to play and eat candy, not murder.”
Manasra, who has been placed at a children’s home for young offenders in the Druze village of Yarka, was 13 when he carried out the attack and turned 14 in January.
According to the indictment, he and his cousin met after school to talk about the situation at the al-Aqsa mosque and that of the Gaza Strip and decided to become martyrs by carrying out an attack.
The cousin, Mahani, took a knife with a 15 cm blade from his parents and the two headed to the commercial center in Pisgat Ze’ev, where they stabbed their two victims.
The attack made international headlines when Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas publicly accused Israel of “executing” Manasra “in cold blood,” while he was in fact alive and being treated for serious wounds at an Israeli hospital. After photos emerged of the teen terrorist recovering at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted Abbas for incitement.