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Jewish Settler Convicted of Killing 4 Palestinians

September 12, 2006|From Reuters

JERUSALEM — An Israeli court Monday convicted a Jewish settler of killing four Palestinians in a West Bank shooting spree last year, part of a bid to stop Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip.

The Jerusalem district court convicted Asher Weisgan of killing the Palestinian laborers on Aug. 17, 2005, the day Israel began forcibly evacuating settlers from Gaza.

Weisgan was found guilty of murder, attempted murder and serious attempt to harm, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced soon, a court official said.

Weisgan, a driver, had taken several workers to jobs in Shiloh, a West Bank settlement. Once there, he opened fire on them, killing two.

Later he opened fire on other laborers in Shiloh's industrial park, killing two more, before being overpowered.

"The preservation of life is not done through the spilling of blood," the panel of three judges said in its ruling.

Prosecutors said Weisgan had hoped the attack would stop the pullout by forcing the redeployment of Israeli troops from Gaza to the West Bank to quell unrest.

Israel completed the withdrawal of its troops and more than 8,500 settlers from Gaza in mid-September 2005, ending 38 years of occupation.

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