The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by “Jewish terrorist” Ofer Gamliel, who was convicted in 2003 of attempting to bomb a Muslim school and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
In thebrief ruling, judges stated that, "We believe that there is no reason to allow an appeal."
Gamliel and two friends were arrested as they brought the bomb to the school. The three continue to maintain that they did not plan to activate the bomb, and had meant to plant it only to cause fear, not physical injury.
Six months ago, a Prison Services board decided to grant Gamliel parole, as is often done for prisoners who have completed two-thirds of their sentence and who are not considered dangerous to the community.
The board decided on a relatively stringent release program that would have included an employment and education program, psychological treatment, a four-year ban on leaving the country, and twice-monthly check-ins with police.
Gamliel agreed to the program, but the agreement was nixed after the Central District prosecution appealed against the decision. The District Court said Gamliel had not undergone enough rehabilitative treatment during his time in jail, and ordered him to be brought before the parole board again only after he had undergone more treatment.
Attorney Adi Keidar, who represented Gamliel on behalf of the Honenu legal rights group, had expressed hope Monday that the Supreme Court would overturn the District Court’s decision.
Keidar expressed frustration after Tuesday’s verdict. “We were shocked at the Supreme Court’s decision,” he said. “After we made several weighty legal arguments, the Court rejected the request in a laconic ruling just three lines long, with no explanation.”
“In light of this, we will weigh our next steps accordingly,” he added.
Honenu Chairman Shmuel Meidad said the verdict serves as yet more evidence that the Supreme Court discriminates against Jews convicted of terror-related offenses, compared to its treatment of Arabs convicted of similar crimes.
“Now of all times, when 104 Palestinian prisoners are expected to be released who caused injury, who murdered, who terrorized the Jewish public, the Israeli legal system prefers to ignore Gamliel’s good behavior in prison,” he said.
Gamliel’s family has campaigned for his release on similar grounds, arguing that the release of Arab prisoners guilty of horrific murders should be “balanced out” by the release of Jewish prisoners convicted of lesser crimes.
They also argue that Jewish security prisoners are treated more harshly in general.