By Nir Hasson, Haaretz Correspondent
Two Palestinian residents of Jerusalem were jailed for two years Wednesday, after admitting to conspiring to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
The two, Ayad Avid and Abdullah Avid, from the neighborhood of Issawiyah, planned to use a tractor to ram a military jeep before kidnapping the soldiers inside at gunpoint. The two then envisioned striking a prisoner exchange with Israel which would result in the release of two of Ayad Avid's family members. both serving life sentences for terrorism.
The two amassed a variety of weaponry, including clubs, knives and stun guns, and also attempted to procure guns, but had not gone past the preparation stage.
The two were also found guilty of setting fire to a ballot box during local Jerusalem elections last year, when they threatened a panel of electoral supervisors, removed a ballot box and set it alight outside.
Prosecutors had sought a 60-month sentence for both defendants, but Judge Moshe Sobel said that their admission of guilt had to be taken into account, as well as the fact that they had cooperated fully with police and had not actually put their plan into action.
In his ruling, the judge wrote: "A situation such as this, in which the planning [of the crime] never exceeded the initial stages in six months, until the time of the arrests of the accused, has no relation to cases which demand the full severity of the law."
Israel has a history of agreeing to release prisoners in return for its soldiers held by enemy groups. In 2006, the country released hundreds of Arab prisoners in return for the bodies of two soldiers killed in a raid by Hezbollah. Israel is also currently negotiating with Hamas to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, who was abducted more than three years ago by militants from Gaza.
Click to view image: 'ad6fb1f89ce3-plot250.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|