Wael Salaman Mohammed el-Arjeh of Hebron has been given two life sentences for the murder of dual Israeli-American citizen Asher Palmor and his infant son Yonatan, in addition to being given an additional 60 years in prison for partaking in other rock terror attacks with murderous intentions. El-Arjeh, who worked as a Palestinian security officer, threw large stones at Palmer’s car with the intention of killing them just because they were Jewish. As a result, Palmor lost control of the vehicle, resulting in the deaths of Palmer and his infant child.
Yonatan was supposed to celebrate his first birthday, but he was murdered two days before he could. Asher was evidently on his way to pick up his wife Pua from her work at a Jerusalem hospital. She happened to be pregnant at the time. As a result of Palmer’s and his sons’ untimely deaths, Pua was left a young widow and is now forced to raise her new baby daughter, Orit, without the support of her husband. Orit will also grow up without a father or older brother, because of this terror attack.
After the terror attack, Pua moved away from her home in Kiryat Arba in order to live with her family in Efrat. She proclaimed, “Since the attack I have not returned home to Kiryat Arba. I’m recovering. But I lost my love. I lost all my life. I spent the last few months with difficult feelings. Anyone can imagine what goes on when a person loses a husband and child.” Pua explained, “It was like the ground fell out from underneath me. The whole world has been erased.” While the birth of Orit brought her some joy, she declared, “I would not call this consolation – there is no comfort in this case.” She could not even shop for baby clothes without being psychologically reminded of what she lost.
El-Arjeh demonstrated no remorse for his actions. In their verdicts, the Israeli judges noted that he not only intended to kill Jews, but El Arjeh’s associates even boasted about their murderous intentions, referring to it as Jihad. Later on, they would cite anti-semitic political motives as their motivating factor. El-Arjeh also demonstrated that he understood pretty well that rocks can and do have the ability to kill people, especially when they are thrown at moving vehicles.
The Palmer family attorney stated after the verdict, “The court stated today very clearly that throwing rocks is murder.” Indeed, this was not the only incident within Israel where rock throwing has harmed people. The attorney continued, “We hope this case means that similar incidents will not occur. This is terror any way you look at it and it must be treated as such.” As the Talmud states, “Whoever destroys a life, it is as if he destroyed the entire world .”
By Rachel Avraham