Israel’s Jerusalem District court has convicted a 14-year-old Palestinian boy on two charges of attempted murder after he allegedly carried out a stabbing attack on two Israelis.
Ahmed Manasra was with his cousin, 15-year-old Hassan Manasra, who was shot dead by Israeli police after the incident on October 12 at the illegal Pisgat Zeev settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.
“There was no kind of justice in the court’s handling of the case – this was an unjust decision. We did not expect it,” Ahmed’s father Saleh Manasra told Al Jazeera.
Shortly after the alleged attack, Manasra was hit by an Israeli driver who rammed him with his car. A video showing Ahmed bleeding on the ground and gasping for help was shared widely, garnering media attention.
Voices of Israeli bystanders shouting and swearing at the boy, telling him to “die”, were heard in the video, causing outrage.
“He did not have the intention to kill anyone – he and his cousin were merely trying to scare Israelis with the knife. There is no evidence that he tried to stab anyone,” Tariq Barghouti, Ahmed’s lawyer, told Al Jazeera.
“This is a racist court and a court of the occupation. It had a preconceived notion about the incident due to the media uproar and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s statements about it. The Israeli public opinion influenced the court decision and led to the conviction of the child Ahmed Manasra on no basis and without any explanation,” he added.
After the incident, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared on television accusing Israel of using excessive force against Palestinians, in which he referred to Manasra’s case as an execution.
Netanyahu responded by saying Abbas’s comments constituted a “new big lie”. The Israeli government released videos and photos showing Manasra alive in an Israeli hospital shortly after.
Another video exposing an Israeli security interrogation of Manasra was leaked to local media. In the video (WARNING: some viewers may find this disturbing) which Al Jazeera cannot verify, several Israeli police interrogators are seen yelling at Manasra and accusing him of attempted murder, causing more uproar.
Barghouti expects that Manasra may face up to ten years in prison, but says his defence is planning to appeal against the court’s decision.
“How is this an attempted murder when the Israeli soldier, Elor Azarya, who was filmed executing a Palestinian man in Hebron, wasn’t murder? A small comparison such as this one is enough to explain that we are dealing with a court without any kind of justice,” said Barghouti.
The soldier was charged with manslaughter, spurring thousands of Israelis to rally in support of Azarya at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on April 19.
Manasra’s next court session is set for July 11, but his lawyer says he expects the session to be postponed until the end of July, after which the sentencing is supposed to take place.
In the latest wave of violence since October, the Israeli army has killed at least 206 Palestinians, including protesters, bystanders and alleged attackers, while 33 Israelis have been killed in stabbing and shooting incidents.