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Jerusalem Arab Given Three Life Sentences for Deadly Bus Attack

Bilal Abu Ghanem, 21, was one of two terrorists who, armed with guns and knives, killed three Israelis and wounded seven others on a bus in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood last October. His accomplice was killed on scene.

The Jerusalem District Court convicted Bilal Abu Ghanem of three counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder, as well aiding the enemy in war, on Monday.
Abu Ghanem, 21, of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber, was one of two terrorists who carried the attack that killed three Israelis on a Jerusalem bus in October last year in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv. Alon Govberg, Richard Lakin and Haim Haviv were killed and seven others were wounded in a combined shooting and stabbing attack.
The other attacker, Bahaa Elayan, also from Jabal Mukkaber, was killed by police during the attack. Elayan's body has still not been returned to the family for burial by the police. His house was demolished in early January.
Three months ago, a proposed plea bargain deal fell apart after Abu Ghanem refused to stand for the judge in the courtroom, plead guilty to the indictment and accept the plea bargain agreement. Judge Yoram Noam refused to grant the request from Abu Ghanem's lawyers to accept his statements while he remained sitting. The plea bargain deal set a sentence of three consecutive life sentences.
Prosecutors asked to sentence Abu Ghanem to three consecutive life sentences for the murders plus another 70 years for the conspiracy and attempted murder crimes. Prosecutor Uri Korb told the court that it was possible to sentence Abu Ghanem to death for the crimes, but the prosecution in Israel does not customarily ask for such a sentence. "If it was customary, this is the case which would have had a position of honor among those cases in which we would have requested [the death penalty]," he said.

Nir Hasson
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.724812Schermata 2016 06 13 alle 21.25.47

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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