Op-Ed: Love and Determination Led to Justice in Palmer Case
The dignity of Michael Palmer, and the aura of love as he gave testimony describing what he and his family have been going through since the brutal murders of his son and grandson, Asher and Yonatan HY"D, brought both reality and anguish into the courtroom.
Friday, September 23, 2011 not only changed the lives of the Palmer family with the brutal murders of Asher and Yonatan by the gang of Arab terrorists who planned, practiced and carried out the murders, but changed much more than that.
In the midst of unbearable pain at the loss of his loved ones, Michael made a fateful decision. He decided to be actively involved in the trials of the murdering terrorists of his loved ones. He hired a lawyer, Adv. Adrian Agassi, to help ensure that maximum justice be achieved.
He then took yet another unprecedented step by asking us, friends and family to establish a presence in the military court as the trials took place. This has never been done before by families of victims of terror. Arutz Sheva publicized the dates of the hearings to remind people to come.
And then he agreed to my request to make copies of a photograph of Asher and Yonatan for us to hold against us before and during the trials.
Week after week, month after month for over a year and a half Michael traveled from Kiryat Arba to Opher Military Prison and the military court that tried the terror gang that planned and perpetrated numerous terror attacks, one of which resulted in the tragic murder of Asher and Yonatan z"l.
The effect of having hired Adv. Adrian Agassi , and with us being there with Michael during the nightmare of facing the murderers had an enormous effect on both the prison guards, the judges and prosecution and especially the terrorists and their defense lawyers. This case became something different from all of the other trials taking place in the military court.
This case became human, it had faces, not merely names - and it brought the reality of the pain of loss into that Military Court.
As Michael stood on the witness stand during the hearing which would result in the sentencing of the head of the terror gang, Wahil, and spoke of Asher and Yonatan z"l, you not only felt the pain and love in his words, he made Asher and Yonatan z"l's presence felt within the walls of the military court. His words and the sentence at the summary of his anguished descriptions of his son and grandson allowed us to get to know the victims.
When Michael in his testimony directed the following words to the murdering terrorist; "you did not know Asher or Yonatan, they were murdered merely because they are Jews", the truth of the terror directed against us emerged.
Each time that I was at Opher, whether before going inside the military court, or while seated during the long, arduous procedures, our presence especially with the photographs hugged tight to us, brought both Asher and Yonatan z"l into the court.
The unprecedented decision of the court to sentence Wahil with two consecutive life sentences and another 58 years was truly because of the brave steps taken by this bereaved father and grandfather.
Adv. Agassi is a solid rock of knowledge, faith and determination in the search and demand for justice. Michael and the entire Palmer family know that they are not alone in their pain and in the struggle to ensure that justice be done .
We are with them and shall continue to maintain a presence during the nightmare of the trials of the rest of the gang. And we shall stay with them remembering Asher and Yonatan z"l after the trials are over. May we always do good in memory of all of our loved ones.
It cannot bring our loved ones back, but we pray that it will prevent any other family from suffering such loss simply because they are Jews.
"L-rd how long shall the wicked triumph? …..For the L-rd will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance…..And He brings upon them their own iniquity; and He cuts them off in their own wickedness….(.Psalms: 94)
Despite the pain and anguish of loss, because of the love and determination of our friend, Michael Palmer, and the efforts of Adv. Agassi, we see justice being done.