A young resident of Samaria was indicted on Sunday for endangering lives on a traffic lane when he shot an air gun at an Arab taxi on Aug. 24, 2016. The shot smashed the car’s rear window but no one was hurt. The police and Shabak announcement described the suspect, Moshe Yinon Oren, 18, a resident of Ronen Hilltop, which Police referred to as Arusi Hilltop (the settlement is named after Ronen Arusi, who established it), as a “rightwing extremist” who was risking human lives.
A search in Oren’s home yielded an air gun that was used in the even described in the indictment, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) which he is accused of driving during the event, an empty magazine for plastic bullets caliber 5.56, gas canisters, a sling, and a metal box containing 37 anti-vehicle spikes.
The Police and Shabak announcement also says Oren has confessed to the charges and reenacted the event: he arrived on his ATV at Route 60 near the main Yitzhar junction, where police say he shot his air gun at the Arab taxi and fled the scene.
However, according to legal aid society Honenu, whose attorney Itai Rosin represents Oren, the indictment and the announcement omit a crucial component, namely the fact that the Arab taxi veered off its path in an attempt to ram Oren’s vehicle. According to Rosin, on Aug. 24 his client was riding his ATV on the road leading to Har Bracha, when the taxi, with five Arab workers inside, veered of its path on the opposite side of the road in an attempt to ram his vehicle, forcing him off to the shoulder of the road.
In response, Oren turned around and gave chase after the taxi, catching up with it at the roundabout of the Hawara Village, at which point he pulled out his air gun and shot the car’s rear window. A week ago Saturday night he was arrested and spent the week in a Shabak interrogation facility without contact with a lawyer, even though the indictment does not accuse him of a weapons violation or a hate crime.
Attorney Rosin said in a statement that his client, “a young man who is about to enlist in the IDF, felt threatened as a result of the wild driving of the complainants, and used a toy gun, an air gun. This is not a ‘price tag’ action, my client does not belong to this group or another, and the indictment itself does not accuse him of race- or weapons-related violations. It is inconceivable that my client would be investigated by the Shabak and be kept from seeing his lawyer, a harsh and ongoing violation of his fundamental rights, all of it under the cover of a gag order as if this were a serious security violation. If the same acts had been committed by a boy from Tel Aviv or Herzlia he would certainly not have been interrogated by the Shabak and kept from meeting an attorney.” Rosin added, “I am certain these discrepancies will receive their proper attention during his trial.”