An Arab terrorist was sentenced to 10 years in prison this week for conspiring to kidnap Israeli soldiers from a military outpost near the Gaza border.
Said Machsan was convicted in the Be’er Sheva District Court on Monday of plotting to join two other operatives in the raid. Machsan intended to demand the release of terrorist Achram Salameh Said -- currently being held in an Israeli prison -- in exchange for his kidnap victims, according to the court papers.
It is not clear which terrorist organization the two operatives belong to.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Revital Yafeh-Katz noted that Machsan had trained for the abduction and received weapons, handcuffs and a spray with which to render his victim unconscious.
If he had managed to capture two victims were captured, the second would have been bound with handcuff, according to the plot. Both would have been spirited away through the underground smuggler tunnels to a home to Gaza.
The terrorist made at least two attempts to carry out the plan, but failed due to the alertness of IDF soldiers at the Gaza border who spotted Machsan and arrested him.
“The defendant’s acts are extremely grave, and had he managed to execute his malicious intent his actions would have led to far-reaching consequences for the country’s security, soldiers and residents,” observed the judge.
“The gravity of his acts and the danger inherent in executing them require severe punishment. This comes with an obligation to deter others from trying to execute such acts in the future, as when planning becomes a dominant factor is their possible punishment,” she said.
The Almagor terror victims’ organization commented in a statement issued Tuesday that the sentence handed down by Yafeh-Katz was entirely too lenient.
“Abduction of a person is indeed a grave crime,” said the group in a statement. “The sentence does not reflect the gravity of the offense, and constitutes a message of encouragement to other terrorist organizations.”
Had Machsan's attempted kidnapping operation proven successful, it could have ended in results similar to those of Hizbullah and Hamas in 2006.
Hizbullah operatives captured two IDF reservists, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, in a raid across Israel's northern border on July 12, 2006 that ignited the Second Lebanon War. Their bodies were returned two years later in exchange for a child killer serving a life sentence, Lebanese Druze terrorist Samir Kuntar, plus four other live Hizbullah terrorists and the bodies of 199 others.
A month earlier, a team of Hamas-affiliated terrorists abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid on an Israeli army outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza. Two others were killed and a fourth was seriously wounded in the raid. Shalit is still not free, despite years of negotiations and announcements that agreements on prisoner swap deals are "close." Hamas is demanding freedom for more than a thousand Palestinian Authority terrorists, hundreds of whom have "blood on their hands," including a significant number serving multiple life sentences.