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2 Palestinians sentenced to 9 years in prison for abetting deadly stone throwing

Sept. 11, 2017 6:24 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 12, 2017 10:06 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Two Palestinians have reportedly been sentenced to nine years in Israeli prison for allegedly aiding and abetting causing an Israeli driver's death by throwing stones at his car in September 2015, according to Israeli media reports.

Israeli media reported back in January that Abed Dwayyat was convicted of manslaughter for throwing stones at 64-year-old Alexander Levlovich’s car, and was sentenced at the time to 18 years in prison after reaching a plea bargain -- representing the harshest sentence ever handed down for stone-throwing. He was also fined with 100,000 shekels ($26,397) in damages.

Dwayyat was detained less than a month after Levlovich’s killing, alongside three other Palestinian youths between 16 and 19 years old, identified as Salah Abu Kaf, Muhammad Jihad al-Tawil, Walid Firas al-Atrash, and Ali Sabra.

Dwayyat was considered the ringleader of the group that allegedly threw rocks at the vehicle. Israeli police claimed at the time of their detention that the four -- all from occupied East Jerusalem’s Sur Bahir neighborhood -- admitted to carrying out a premeditated attack.

Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva reported Monday that al-Atrash have now been found guilty of aiding and abetting Dwayyat, and were sentenced to nine years on prison.

According to the report, “al-Atrash’s job was to act as a spotter for upcoming cars driven by Jews, while Dwayyat and Abu Kaf threw the rocks that killed Levlovich.”

It remained unclear if Muhammad al-Tawil and Ali Sabra would too be sentenced over his alleged involvement in the incident.

Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone throwing every year, with Israeli rights group B'Tselem reporting that from 2005 to 2010, 93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months.

Israeli authorities have dramatically escalated their crackdown on Palestinian youth who are caught throwing rocks, with Israel passing a law in 2015 setting sentences up to 20 years in prison for stone throwing if intent to harm could be proven, and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.

Palestinians have claimed that rock throwing is a natural reaction to frustrations caused by the nearly half-century Israeli military occupation, which has been shaped by everyday forms of violence, such as nightly military raids into Palestinian communities, arbitrary detentions, home demolitions, and frequent killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces.
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