A Palestinian lawyer has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for inciting a mob to attack an Israeli settler’s car on a road leading to the Israeli settlement of Yatta, in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian attorney general said Thursday.
The attorney general’s office said he was arrested on December 15.
He was the first Palestinian lawyer to be convicted of inciting violence in a court in Jerusalem.
The case is the latest in a string of such convictions for Palestinians, who face harsh restrictions in Israel, and who seek a state of their own.
The Israeli government said it had taken the case seriously and had arrested a number of Palestinians who participated in the attack.
The lawyer, Mahmoud Shams, was arrested when he tried to enter the Israeli settlements of Efrat and Pisgat Ze’ev, which lie in the disputed West Bank.
Shams’ trial, which took place before a judge, is scheduled to start on Friday.
“It’s a crime to incite violence, which is a serious offense,” said lawyer Nader Qassem, who is also a member of the Palestinian Bar Association.
He said that during the trial, Shams confessed that he was “motivated by hatred against settlers.”
“He was a murderer,” Qassems told Al Jazeera.
“He admitted to it.
I was not able to say anything to him but I knew that he had confessed.”
Shams was not present in court when he was sentenced.
His lawyer told Al-Jazeera that he is now in hiding.
“We don’t know when the trial will start.
But if he is sentenced to more than two years, he will not be able to appeal his conviction,” Qassam said.
Shamas’ conviction was confirmed by a spokesman for Israel’s justice ministry.
A judge in the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday also sentenced a Palestinian man to three months in prison, accusing him of inciting a violent mob to destroy a settler car in October.
In December, a group of more than a dozen Palestinians were arrested after attacking a police vehicle in Hebron.
A few days later, two Palestinian men were charged with participating in the attacks.
Both were later released without charge.