Court Releases Terrorist Convicted of Planning Tel Aviv Attack
An Israeli court decided on Monday to release a terrorist who planned a 2002 suicide attack in a Tel Aviv café.
The Military Court of Appeals ruled that Jamal Tirawi, formerly a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terror group and currently a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council on behalf of Fatah, will be released in the coming days, explaining that Israel had violated an agreement with the Palestinian Authority in which it agreed not to arrest Tirawi.
Tirawi sent the suicide bomber who carried out the terrorist attack in the “My Coffee Shop” in Tel Aviv in March of 2002. An Israeli woman was killed in the bombing and 29 others were wounded.
Several years after the terror attack, Israel and the PA signed a “wanted terrorists agreement” in which Israel agreed not to arrest several wanted terrorists, including Tirawi.
In 2007, as IDF soldiers were arresting another wanted terrorist, it also arrested Tirawi who coincidentally had been present at the scene. He was found guilty of planning the Tel Aviv attack and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. His lawyers argued that Israel had violated the agreement it signed with the PA and as such, Tirawi should be released.
The appeals court agreed, explaining that “the credibility of the State in the agreement it signed is more important than exercising the full rigor of the law, even when it comes to such a terrorist.”
Attorney Avigdor Feldman, who represented Tirawi, welcomed Monday’s ruling, saying, "This is a brave decision of the Military Court of Appeals, and I doubt it has a precedent in Israeli law. The Court overturned the conviction of a PA official, who was convicted of involvement in a suicide bombing in Israel and sentenced to thirty years in prison, because the State of Israel violated its obligation towards him when it agreed not to arrest him. The Court ruled that the State’s credibility is above the principle of prosecuting criminals, including terrorists. Jamal Tirawi took the stand after the ruling, thanked the court and said that the verdict proves that Israelis and Palestinians are meant to coexist peacefully.”