30 January 2001
Conclusion to the Korman killing
January 21, 2001; Sunday 6:57 AM Eastern Time
HEADLINE: Jewish settler gets community service and fine for killing
BYLINE: JACK KATZENELL
BODY: An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced a Jewish settler to
community service and a fine for the beating and kicking death of an
11-year-old Palestinian boy. The boy's father expressed outrage and
accused the court of issuing a ''license to kill.''
The Jerusalem District Court sentenced Nahum Korman, 36, to six months
of community service and a 70,000 shekels (dlrs 17,500) fine for the
killing of Hilmi Shusha in the West Bank in October 1996.
Judge Ruth Or said she was not sending Korman to jail because the
Supreme Court had convicted him only of ''manslaughter by
Or acquitted Korman at his original trial, but the Supreme Court later
overturned the verdict. While Korman does not face any additional jail
time, he spent nine months in jail after his arrest.
The sentence was agreed upon by the prosecution and the defense,
although Korman still insists that he did not touch the boy.
At the time of the Hilmi's death, Korman was security officer at a
Jewish settlement near Bethlehem and drove into a nearby Palestinian
village looking for Palestinians who had been throwing rocks at
passing Israeli cars.
The prosecution contended that Korman beat and kicked the child,
knocked him down, put his foot on the boy's neck and struck him with a
pistol. The boy suffered a head injury and a fractured spinal cord and
died the next day in a hospital.
The boy's father, Said Shusha, told Israel radio that the judge ''is
giving people a license to kill.'' He also condemned the prosecution
for agreeing to such a light sentence.
Korman initially said the boy fainted, but later changed his testimony
and said the boy tripped while running away and struck his neck on a
rock or a piece of scrap metal.
Or ruled the testimony of prosecution witnesses, such as the boy's
cousin, was not credible. She also rejected the findings of the chief
In contrast, the Supreme Court accepted the pathologist's findings
that the injury could have been caused only by a blow, not by the
boy's falling or fainting, as Korman claimed.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that Korman's responsibility was
limited, since he tried to revive the boy and therefore had not
intended to kill him.
Israeli lawmaker Naomi Chazan, of the left-wing Meretz party,
denounced the sentence, saying, ''It shows how little respect is shown
for Palestinian life.''
Jan 22 2000 Palestinian Life Continues to be Cheap (B'Tselem)
B'Tselem protests the Jerusalem District Court's decision today to sentence Nachum Korman, convicted of manslaughter in the death of 12-year old Hilmi Shusha, to the ridiculous sentence of six months community service and compensation of NIS 70,000.
At a time when violence by Israeli civilians against Palestinians is increasing, the Court's decision sends the message that Palestinian life is cheap, and that Israeli civilians in the Occupied Territories can continue to abuse Palestinians without impunity.
The Court's decision to accept the plea bargain is a direct continuation of the policy of all Israeli law enforcement agencies - from the police and the IDF, to the State's Attorney's Office and the Courts, and including the Presidency. Throughout the years, all these institutions have turned a blind eye to cases where Israelis injure innocent Palestinians, and have even supported them. This policy stands in blatant contradiction to the authorities' treatment of cases where Palestinians injure Israelis. In the latter cases, the justice system is suddenly highly efficient and employs all means at its disposal, including measures that violate human rights.
From the testimony of Ibrahim Shusha, cousin of Hilmi and an eye witness to the incident:
"...the settler went, looked toward the house and saw that no one was there, came back and grabbed Hilmi and immediately kicked him in the head. The settler was wearing army boots. Hilmi, my cousin, stood 3 meters from me… After the kick, Hilmi fell to the ground and lost consciousness. The settler kicked Hilmi in the neck and hit him once on the head with the butt of his pistol."
This incident is one of dozens in which Israeli civilians killed Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. B'Tselem conducts a comparative study of all these cases, which paints a disturbing picture: many cases are never even investigated by the Police; others that are investigated, the State's Attorney's Office decides not to file indictments; the few cases that do reach the courts end in acquittal or in light sentences. In those isolated incidents where a serious sentence is imposed, the President commuted the sentence.
B'Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories is the leading Israeli organization monitoring, documenting and advocating to improve human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Founded in 1989, B'Tselem publishes reports, engages in advocacy and serves as a resource center. http://www.btselem.org
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