Three Israeli-Arabs were indicted today in the Nazareth District Court on charges of abducting and murdering the soldier Oleg Shaichat.
As re-enacted by one of the three, the killers forced Shaichat into their car as he was waiting at a bus stop on his way home to Nazareth on July 21. They drove with him some distance, and Oleg was able to toss out of the car his hat and unit tag, which later proved to be helpful in the search for his body. The Arabs then forced him out of the car, ignoring his pleas to spare his life, and then shot one bullet to his head. They then dug a deep hole in a nearby orchard and buried him there, later burning his army boots and dog-tag elsewhere.
Oleg's fate was unknown for a week while thousands of security personnel and volunteers searched for him, until his body was finally found. The three Arabs were arrested two days later.
The three Arabs were charged with conspiring to kidnap a soldier "in order to steal and sell his weapon." The charge sheet has aroused a public discussion as to whether the crime was of a "criminal" nature or "nationalistic-terrorist" nature. Police sources have said that the crime was definitely "criminal" and possibly also "nationalistic."
The indictment states that the three planned to sell their victim's weapon to Palestinian terrorists in the Shomron. The weapon has in fact not been found, and the police investigation is still underway. The three defendants now maintain innocence, despite the re-enactment. Their custody was extended this morning until the end of the legal proceedings.
Northern District Police Commander Yaakov Borovsky said that in the past year there have been "not a few" grave security incidents in which Israeli-Arabs were involved. He said, however, that this does not mean that the entire Israeli-Arab community must be maligned.