In a rare court decision, Israeli border guards get minor sentences over the unlawful killing of a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank after seven years.
Shahar Botbeka, the ring leader, and Denis Alhazov were jailed for eight-and-a-half years and five-and-a-half years respectively by the Jerusalem District Court on Monday.
Two other border policemen, also involved in the same murder, had previously been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment — one for eight-and-a-half years and the other for four-and-a-half years.
The four men, who were celebrating their last day in the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Hebron (al-Khalil), had seized Palestinian youth Imran Abu Hamdieh from outside his home in the town on December 30, 2002 and savagely beat him.
Imran, suffering from serious head injuries after the beating, was bundled up in the back of an Israeli military vehicle and thrown out by Botbeka and Alhazov while the vehicle was traveling at 80km/h (50 mph). He died on the spot.
The eight-and-a-half year sentence is the longest jail time to have been handed down for such a case in Israeli history.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the gravity of the offense merited an even harsher punishment.
Although Palestinians are frequently attacked by Israeli soldiers, police and settlers in the West Bank, it is very rare for such cases to reach the courts and even rarer that a court should issue a custodial sentence.
"As a rule, the authorities refrain from enforcing the law on soldiers and police officers who commit crimes of violence against Palestinians," the organization said in a written statement.