Every three months or so, it falls to my lot to be the Duty Prosecutor over the weekend. As Fate would have it, my turn came round this last Friday – the day when the “political tsumani” was supposed to strike and the IDF and Israel Police were braced for widespread rioting throughout Judaea and Samaria, as well as East Jerusalem and possibly in Israeli Arab towns and villages. In the event, Friday was suspiciously quiet with only one appearance in court, of a car thief from the Hebron area who hadn’t been able to make bail – principally because he hadn’t been able to find even one person ready to vouch for him!
Motza’ei Shabbat, on the other hand, was a different matter. Usually, I am notified by late afternoon if there is business which requires my attendance in court. This time, however, it was not until 15 minutes after the end of the Sabbath, that the phone call came. We had a fourteen and a half year old house-breaker who had been placed in a juvenile remand home in Acco (Acre) last month. Less than a week later, he had absconded and on Friday afternoon, was located wandering around in Jerusalem. Besides violating the terms of his bail, he was wanted by Acco police for forcibly sodomizing a fellow inmate at the remand home. A delightful kid, no?
Anyway, I got to the courthouse at about 9pm – only to discover that serious technical problems with their computers were slowing down the opening of case files to such an extent that it wasn’t until 10.35pm that I was finally able to enter the courtroom with the new file. I then had to wait till the Duty Judge finished hearing the case before mine – an inquest request in which the family of the deceased were petitioning for the release of the bodies for immediate burial (in accordance with Jewish religious law) and the Police wanted to carry out autopsies (frowned upon by said Jewish law).
I mention this, because of the circumstances surrounding their deaths. They were a 25-year old father, Asher Hillel Palmer and his 8-month old baby son, Yehonatan. They were killed on Friday, near the village of Halhul when, it is suspected, their car was stoned by Palestinians, causing it to veer off the road and crash into a stone fence, where it somersaulted twice in the air before landing, upside down, 80 metres away and broke up almost completely. Father and baby didn’t have a chance. The only question seems to be, were their skulls smashed by the crash itself or by the stones thrown by Palestinians. In either case, we would be dealing with murder.
The court actually ruled in favour of the family, but the Police asked for a stay of execution, in order to appeal to a higher court. It was granted – for one hour only. As my own business, once the hearing started, took all of five minutes, I do not know what was the final outcome and whether the young father and his baby son have been buried yet, or not.
May G-d avenge their blood.