Guard Who Murdered Kotel Visitor Released to House Arrest
A Jerusalem court on Sunday ordered Hadi Kabalan, the security guard who killed Doron Ben Shalush at the Kotel earlier this year, has been released to house arrest.
Prosecutors had sought to keep Kabalan locked up until the end of proceedings against him, but the court decided that conditions at his home assured that he would not pose a danger to the public, and that he would not seek to flee. As such, the court said, there was no reason not to release him to house arrest.
Last June, Kabalan opened fire on Ben Shalush as he passed through a security check entering the Kotel Plaza. Kabalan, the indictment reads, sought to “get back” at Ben Shalush for an alleged insult. Kabalan, who is Druze, was working as a security guard at the entrance to the Kotel with a second Druze guard, Khaled, when Ben Shalush allegedly began shouting racist epithets at them.
After he went through the checkpoint, Kabalan allegedly plotted Ben Shalush's murder with Khaled. The two recognized him from his daily visits to the Kotel. Kabalan asked Khaled and a third guard if they would pay him NIS 1,000 to kill Ben Shalush, and the two agreed, the indictment said. Kabalan then left the guard booth, stood a few meters away from Ben Shalush, pulled out a pistol, and shot him 14 times. Ben Shalush was critically injured, and died a few minutes later from his wounds.
Kabalan is also accused of tampering with evidence. After he was arrested, he managed to get hold of a cell phone and connected with Khaled, asking him to tell police a version of the incident that would make it appear as if he had been acting in self-defense.
At a hearing in August, Judge Yoram Noam of the Jerusalem District Court said that it was likely Kabalan would be charged with first degree murder.
“It appears from the investigative material I have reviewed that this was indeed a case of first degree murder, and that the subject will be convicted of this crime. The fact that he fired all 14 bullets in his weapon at the center of the victim's body from close range” will likely be what convicts Kabalan, the judge said at the time.
On Sunday, however, Noam said that he did not see any problem releasing Kabalan to house arrest, as he would be held in “hermetic” conditions there and not pose a danger to anyone.
The Druze are an ethno-religious Arab community who traditionally are loyal to those ruling the country they live in. Israeli Druze live mostly in northern Israel and many serve in the IDF, where they have reached-high ranking positions as well as recognition for heroism, sometimes for giving up their life for Israel. In recent years, PA terrorists have attempted to influence Druze youth to avoid enlistment and join anti-Israel activity, though with relatively little success.