Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered an advisory post to a Jewish settler leader involved in a 1988 killing of a Palestinian youth during an anti-Israeli protest, a settler spokeswoman said on Monday.
Netanyahu’s spokesmen would neither confirm or deny he had asked Pinchas Wallerstein, 60, director-general of the settlers’ YESHA council, to serve as the prime minister’s adviser on settlement affairs.
Aliza Herbst, a YESHA spokeswoman, said Wallerstein “has definitely been offered the job,” and has been filling out forms for a vetting process by Israel’s attorney-general, and that it wasn’t clear how long that may take.
Wallerstein has conditioned acceptance of the post on Israel continuing to reject US President Barack Obama’s demands to freeze all construction in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, Herbst said in a telephone interview.
In 1988, Wallerstein was sentenced to four months’ community service after being convicted of “causing death by negligence” in the shooting of a 16-year-old Palestinian in the West Bank.
A spokeswoman for Wallerstein said he and a bodyguard had chased and opened fire at the youngster and other Palestinian protesters who were throwing stones and burning tyres.
Critics of Israel’s West Bank occupation have long cited the case as an example of leniency Israeli courts have shown to soldiers and settlers who killed Palestinians.
Wallerstein would replace Uzi Keren, an Israeli kibbutz leader, who has held the position since being named about seven years ago by former prime minister Ariel Sharon, still comatose since suffering a stroke in 2006.
Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war and which Palestinian seek for a state.