An Israeli court Monday sentenced Jewish settler Shahar Dvir-Zeliger to eight years in jail for membership in a terrorist organization aimed at carrying out attacks against Arab civilians and for unlawful possession of weapons stolen from Israel’s army.
Zeliger was convicted in September of belonging to a terrorist organization under a counter-terrorism order — the first time that the article in the law had been used since indictments were brought against members of the “Jewish Underground” of the mid-1980s.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Yoram Noam said there was no way to make it more severe, because of the cooperation shown by Zeliger during the police investigation. During the investigation, Zeliger led police to a massive weapons cache belonging to the group, hidden in caves near the West Bank settlement of Adi Ad, where he resides. He also named the fellow members of the group. The cache contained guns, anti-tank rockets, and a large supply of ammunition stolen from Israeli weapons storage facilities and bunkers throughout the West Bank.
An investigation proved that the weapons had been used to kill Palestinians. Eight people were arrested based on Zeliger’s testimony, but were subsequently released as the police and Shin Bet failed to crack a wall of silence maintained by the suspects. Zeliger and his brother, Shlomo Dvir-Zeliger, belonged to the “Bat Ayin” cell, which is responsible for several attacks, including a shooting ambush on a Palestinian car in July 2001 in which three Palestinians were killed.