Israel Resource Review 14th July, 1997


A Parent's Day in Court

A personal message from Stanley and Joyce Boim, the parents of David Boim, whose son was gunned down by Amjad HaNawi, an Arab who has found safe haven in the Palestine Authority.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have helped us win the first stage of our legal battle, which has resulted in a court order to force our government of Israel to file for the arrest and "hand-over" of Amjad HaNawi, the man who murdered our son.

Our battle is not over. We will need further funds and political support, to make sure that the Israeli government indeed fulfills the court order to file the formal request for Hanawi to stand trial. Please continue to give generously to the legal fund that has been formed to continue with this case and others like it (Tzedek Tzedek, P.O. Box 2265, Jerusalem, Israel)

We have had many strange feelings during our year of litigation.

It was a strange feeling that we had to go to court to get our own government to file for the arrest of our son's murderer.

It was a strange feeling to be told last July by the IDF commander of the central region that the IDF had indeed identified and located the whereabouts of David's killer and that all is being done to bring him to trial and then to be told by the Israel Minister of Justice in March 97 that he knows nothing about it.

It was a strange feeling that the Israeli police issued an arrest warrant only six days before the court hearing, with the precise evidence that they had a year ago.

It was a strange feeling that we had to have the Israel High Court of Justice issue a mandatory court order to force the government had to draw up papers to demand that the PA hand over our son's killer to stand trial.

It was a strange feeling that the Israeli Prime Minister personally assured us in October 1996 that demanding the arrest if killers inside the Palestine Authority would be next on the agenda after the Hebron agreement.

It was a strange feeling when the new head of Israel's Labor opposition looked us in the face and said that "you cannot expect the Palestinians to be 100% perfect", when we asked him about the fact that the Palestine Authority had given refuge to the killers of our son and other Israeli citizens

It was a strange feeling, as American citizens, to be officially informed by the American embassy in Tel Aviv and the American consulate in Jerusalem that the Palestine Authority has arrested and imprisoned David's killer, and then to be informed by all levels of the Palestine Authority that no record of Amjad's arrest exists.

It was a strange feeling to hear a senior US diplomat tell us, that, "well, you know, we have had many drive-by killings in California"

It was a strange feeling that news of the murder of our son and other Israelis and their escape to the Palestine Authority safe havens has taken a back burner to an Oslo process which seems to have very little to do with peace

We continues to have a strange feeling that we will have to continue the effort and expense of a legal fight to make sure that the Israeli government indeed fulfills the terms of a court order to bring our son's killer to justice.

What could be more elementary than to expect that the governments of Israel and the United States of America will pursue the demand that admitted killers of their citizens will indeed be brought to a court of law to stand trial?

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Israeli Family Seeks Justice for Slain Son
by John Donnelly
Miami Herald Staff Writer
12th July, 1997

Jerusalem - Ouside a settlement north of Jerusalem about 14 months ago, high school junior David Boim was waiting for a bus when a gunman in a car shot and killed him.

His American-Israeli parents have been trying to bring the Palestinian killer to trial ever since. They say they have met much resistance -- not from the Palestinian Authority, but from the Israeli government.

This week, the Boims' case finally moved ahead -- but only after they filed a lawsuit that led to an Israeli Supreme Court order Wednesday for Israel to start pressuring the Palestinians to hand over the suspect.

The government has three months to take its first steps.

The case, according to families of terror victims, is one of several instances in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has shown little or no initiative for pushing the Palestinian Authority to adhere to part of the Oslo peace deal: turning over suspects for trial in security cases involving Israelis.

The irony is that Netanyahu won election a year ago partly on the promise that he would be much tougher on Palestinian violations of the Oslo accord.

But families of terror victims -- most of them Netanyahu supporters say the government is doing nothing for them.

"What is so aggravating is, this is a government we fought for," Joyce Boim, David's mother, said Thursday. "Our own government is not cooperating. We really think this is politically motivated, that the government doesn't want to push the Palestinians on this."

Bureaucracy blamed

Government spokesman Moshe Fogel denied Thursday that there were political reasons for not requesting the transfer of the Boim murder suspect.

Fogel blamed bureaucracy.

"It's not a reluctance on our part," he said. "It has more to do with inefficiency. I admit there isn't the sense of urgency because we don't expect anything to come out of it. And it is true that the Boims had to go to the Supreme Court to push it forward."

The Palestinian Authority has said that it won't turn over suspects to Israeli officials, but instead will bring them before its own courts. The suspect in Boim's murder, Amjad Hanawi, is believed to be in a Nablus jail, Israeli officials say.

"You can have a situation now when you can kill a Jew in the middle of Jerusalem, expect the Palestinian killer to be welcomed inside Palestinian Authority territory, and the Israeli government won't do anything for you," said David Bedein, a media analyst who is assisting the Boim family.

"It is part of the Oslo mentality: You can sacrifice the individual for the greater good of peace process," Bedein said. "[But] this has never been a country that said if we lost a few people, it's OK. The Talmud teaches us that he who has taken a human life has taken a universe."

The Boim family moved to Jerusalem from the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1985. David Boim was 6 years old then, the fifth of seven children, who grew up to be the most outgoing of all his brothers and sisters.

Political concerns

On the day of his death, May 13, 1996, the 17-year-old was standing with three of his friends at a bus stop outside the Beit El settlement, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem and the Biblical site of Jacob's ladder.

He had just finished a study session at the settlement, which is bordered by several Arab villages.

The shots were fired from a compact car at about 3 p.m. Two of his friends were wounded.

Last July, the chief military officer in the territories, Uzi Dayan, told the Boims that one of the suspected killers had been apprehended by Palestinian police.

On Oct. 8 last year, the Boims and several other families met Netanyahu to press for action. According to Bedein, Netanyahu told the families that once the Hebron troop withdrawal arrangement was complete, he would ask for the transfer of suspects. Fogel denied Thursday that Netanyahu linked the transfer to the Hebron pullout.

But another high government official said Thursday that there were some political concerns about the timing of the requests.

"It's true that we didn't want to turn that into a crisis at certain periods," the official said. "We weren't going to say in the middle of the Hebron negotiations, if you don't honor this part of the agreement, it's over."

The Boims' lawyer, Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, said the Israeli government now must act on the court order.

"This is a request from parents whose child was murdered," she said. "Every family would like this basic request fulfilled, that the state work to indict the person who killed their child. If the murder was committed in Tel Aviv or Ashdod, the police would have arrested him immediately. Because the murderer was a Palestinian, there is a special law for him, and our government is not helping."

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