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Immortalizing a child terrorist

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

On October 15, 2015, as part of the PA instigated “Knife Intifada” terror campaign, two Palestinian terrorists, aged 15 and 13 years old, went on a terror spree in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev. Before being neutralized, the pair managed to attack and inflict life threatening injuries on two Israelis. Yosef Ben Shalom, then 21 years old, was stabbed twice in the chest. Naor Ben Ezra, then just 12 years old, was stabbed 4 times. 

Video footage released by the Israel police showed the terrorists, knives in hand, chasing their potential victim.

The older of the terrorists was killed on the spot, while the younger, Ahmad Manasrah, was just injured. Manasrah was then indicted and later convicted of 2 counts of attempted murder. While the Jerusalem District Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison, Israel’s Supreme Court lowered the sentence to 9 and a half years. 

Having served over two thirds of his sentence, the PA has now launched a widespread media and social media campaign to free Manasrah.  

Discussing the campaign, PA TV presented the all too familiar warped description of the events that led to Manasrah’s incarceration, omitting any reference to the fact that he and his accomplice nearly murdered 2 people:

Text on screen: “This child [Ahmad Manasrah] has become a 20-year-old youth today. It is impossible to forget his screams [from his interrogation video]: ‘I don’t remember.’ The occupation arrested him when he was 12 after he was run over and beaten by the settlers. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison”

[Official PA TV, April 6, 2022]

As part of the campaign, the scouts in the PA controlled city of Tubas participated in special vigils on Manasrah’s behalf and made new members from kindergartens hold signs declaring, “We are all Ahmad Manasrah”:

Headline: “A group of girl scouts from the Tubas charity association organized a welcoming ceremony for the new members from the kindergartens”

Text on sign:We are all Ahmad Manasrah”

“A group of young girl scouts from the Tubas charity association participated in the vigil of solidarity with prisoner Ahmad Manasrah”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2022]

The PA funded PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs also tried to rewrite history, whitewash the Palestinian child terrorists and besmirch Israel and Israelis. According to the PA narrative, the terrorists were shot with “machine guns… on the pretext that they attempted to carry out a stabbing operation”

“This story began on Oct. 12, 2015, mere days after the outbreak of ‘the Al-Quds Intifada’ (i.e., 2015-2016 Palestinian terror wave, 40 murdered). The Israeli occupation soldiers shot with their sub-machine guns at two Jerusalem children, Ahmad and Hassan Manasrah in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in occupied Jerusalem, on the pretext that they attempted to carry out a stabbing operation, without relating to their young age and their innocent childhood. … Hassan ascended to Heaven as a Martyr, but Ahmad, who was not yet 14, was seriously wounded and afterwards arrested and interrogated before being transferred to the hospital in chains to stay there in intensive care.” 

[Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, April 19, 2022]

Ignoring the fact that Manasrah was treated in an Israeli hospital and has made a full recovery and ignoring the fact that parts of the attack were captured on surveillance videos, the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs added reference to a video of Manasrah’s interrogation, where he seems to have miraculously suffered from amnesia and is seen responding to the questions of the Israeli police officer regarding what happened during the attack, saying, “I don’t know.”:

“From there, from the pit that is called ‘the interrogation centers,’ came the ‘I don’t remember’ video. This was a segment that the Israeli occupation leaked in which Jerusalem child Ahmad Manasrah is seen answering the questions of the interrogation officer while shouting ‘I don’t remember.’…. The event will remain an important cause in the Palestinians’ collective memory and among all defenders of children’s rights and the free people in the entire world, as Ahmad became the symbol of the intifada and of the tormented Palestinian childhood.”

[Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, April 19, 2022]

Needless to say, in other sections of his interrogation, Manasrah provided full details of the attack, how he and his cousin-accomplice decided to carry out the attack, took knives from their homes, went to Pisgat Ze’ev to find their victims and planned to die as Martyrs.

The PA glorification of Manasrah is not new. Soon after the attack, a Palestinian school named a football tournament after him: 

"The Al-Khatib School's team won the Ahmad Manasrah Football Tournament, which was held two days ago [Nov. 21, 2015] on the sport fields of the Dar Al-Maarefa [Boys'] School in El-Bireh, in which many schools from the Ramallah and El-Bireh district participated." 

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 23, 2015]

 

In Israel, most people sentenced to prison sentences are entitled to be considered for parole after serving two thirds of their sentence. The exception to this general rule are terrorists convicted of murder or attempted murder, who fall under a 2018 amendment to the Israeli Anti-Terrorism Law, who are not entitled to even be considered for parole. Since Manasrah’s conviction predated the amendment, and did not specifically say that is was convicting him of attempted murder as a “terror offence,” a Special Parole Board (SPB) must now determine whether Manasrah’s case is covered by the amendment or not. 

To date, there have been a number of proceedings on this matter. At first, the SPB only considered written documents such as the indictment submitted against Manasrah, the decision of the Jerusalem District Court to convict him and the decision of Israeli Supreme Court (which rejected Manasrah’s appeal against his conviction) and determined that Manasrah’s conviction for attempted murder was clearly a “terror offence.” Manasrah appealed the decision arguing that the SPB had erred in its decision to consider only documents and by not allowing Manasrah to make his claims.

At the instruction of the Beer Sheva District Court, the subject was then returned to the SPB to allow Manasrah to make his claims. After the SPB came to the exact same conclusion, after considering Manasrah’s written arguments, Manasrah again appealed to the District Court claiming that the SPB had again erred by not allowing Manasrah to make an oral presentation. 

Once again distorting reality, ignoring the fact that the decision of the court specifically said “This decision does not hint at the end result, whether it is an act of terrorism or not”, an article in the official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, led with the erroneous headline, “The occupation’s court cancelled the ‘terror case’ decision against prisoner Manasrah and returned him to a special committee.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 14, 2022]

Since a standard administrative procedure has now been turned into what appears to be a full hearing, Manasrah’s victim, Naor Ben Ezra, also petitioned the SPB asking that he too be heard, before the SPB makes a decision. Stating his objection the early release of Manasrah, Ben Ezra wrote that as a result of the attack he “is disabled in his right hand, suffers from functional inability, and faces post-trauma that expresses itself in a lack of sleep at night, a lack of calm and a fear to leave the house.” The hearing is set for June 19, 2022.

While in prison, Manasrah has enjoyed the generous terror reward payments the PA pays to imprisoned terrorists. To date the PA has paid Manasrah 202,400 shekels ($60,576). In October 2020 the monthly basic “salary” the PA pays Manasrah doubled rising from 2,000 ($618) - 4,000 shekels ($1,236). Since he holds Israeli residency, the PA also pays Manasrah a special addition of 300 shekels per month.

 Whether he is paroled or not, the PA has already immortalized Manasrah, simply because he took a knife and tried to murder Jews.

The following is a full version of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Facebook post:

Text posted on the Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs

Posted text: “Ahmad Manasrah: The child who bid farewell to his childhood in handcuffs

By: [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ [Affairs] in Gaza Executive Committee member Abd Al-Nasser Farwaneh

This story began on Oct. 12, 2015, mere days after the outbreak of ‘the Al-Quds Intifada’ (i.e., 2015-2016 Palestinian terror wave, 40 murdered). The Israeli occupation soldiers shot with their sub-machine guns at two Jerusalem children, Ahmad and Hassan Manasrah (sic., Hassan was shot while Ahmad was hit by a civilian car, thereby ending their stabbing attack), in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in occupied Jerusalem, on the pretext that they attempted to carry out a stabbing operation, without relating to their young age and their innocent childhood. They were wounded and left to bleed in the street without being provided with the necessary medical treatment. Afterwards, their bodies were subjected to a despicable assault by settlers who stepped on them, beat them vigorously, harassed them, and cursed them, even though they knew that they were seriously wounded. Hassan ascended to Heaven as a Martyr, but Ahmad, who was not yet 14, was seriously wounded and afterwards arrested and interrogated before being transferred to the hospital in chains to stay there in intensive care. However, after a short period and before he had completely healed, he was transferred to the interrogation centers.
From there, from the pit that is called ‘the interrogation centers,’ came the ‘I don’t remember’ video. This was a segment that the Israeli occupation leaked in which Jerusalem child Ahmad Manasrah is seen answering the questions of the interrogation officer while shouting ‘I don’t remember.’ It was a most shocking and painful sight and one of the most prominent sights of ‘the Al-Quds Intifada’ that were preserved in the Palestinian memory, and are still on the mind of everyone who watched and monitoring the event. The event will remain an important cause in the Palestinians’ collective memory and among all defenders of children’s rights and the free people in the entire world, as Ahmad became the symbol of the intifada and of the tormented Palestinian childhood.”

[Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, April 19, 2022]

Palestinian terror wave (2015-2016) – Palestinian violence and terror attacks against Israelis, ‎including stabbings, shootings, throwing Molotov cocktails, and car rammings. It started in September 2015 and as of July 2016, 40 people were murdered (36 Israelis, 1 Palestinian, 2 Americans, and 1 foreign worker from Eritrea) and over 500 wounded.

 

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