The Haifa District Court has found four Arabs guilty of attempted manslaughter in the lynching murder of Eden-Natan Zada, a Jewish soldier who murdered four people on a bus because of his anti-Arab sentiments. The four are Basel Hatib, Naaman Bahous, Basel Kadari and Jamil Safouri.
A mob of Arabs was awaiting the decision outside the court and threatening violence if the accused are convicted of murder.
Two other accused men, Arkan Kurbazh and Fadi Nasrallah, were convicted of aggravated assault, and a seventh, Munir Zakout, was exonerated.
The murders took place on August 4, 2005, during the Terror War waged by Palestinian Authority Arabs against Jews, in which more than 1,000 Jews were murdered, many of them in attacks on buses.
Eden-Natan Zada, an IDF soldier, boarded a bus that passed through the Arab-Druze town of Shfaram. At a certain point he opened fire indiscriminately, murdering four people: the driver, and three passengers, including two women.
Other passengers on the bus managed to take away his weapon, and police who were called in successfully subdued and cuffed him. However, a lynch mob assembled outside the bus meanwhile, and the police escaped, leaving Zada handcuffed inside the bus. The mob then broke into the bus and murdered him while he was immobilized.
Seven residents of Shfaram were arrested after an investigation and charged with attempted murder and several other offenses, including attacking policemen.
The court decided Monday not to convict the accused of attempted murder but only of attempted manslaughter. The judges determined that they could not convict the accused of murder because it is not known whether Zada was already dead when they attacked him. They also said that there was a clear element of provocation in the circumstances, “both objectively and subjectively.”
The judges determined in a 465-page verdict that Zada “was badly beaten until he died.” The original charge sheet said that the four main defendants attacked Zada with rocks and a metal rod, as he lay on the floor of the bus.
And yet, said the panel's head, Judge Ilan Schiff, “We cannot accept blood revenge and lynchings. Revenge is G-d's and punishment is meted out by the judiciary, Revenge is a wild kind of justice, and the rule of law must uproot it.”