Asher Weisgan (1966 – December 22, 2006) was an Israeli bus driver who shot and murdered four Palestinians and injured two others in the Israeli settlement of Shiloh in the West Bank on 17 August 2005. Weisgan wanted to disrupt the Israeli Government’s unilateral disengagement plan in Gaza by sparking a Palestinian reaction. On 27 September 2006, Weisgan was sentenced by the Israeli court to four consecutive terms of life in prison, for each person he killed, and an additional twelve years in jail. Later that year, he committed suicide by hanging himself in prison.
Weisgan, who lived in the Israeli settlement of Shvut Rachel, had known two of his targets, Bassam and Usama Tawafsha from the neighboring Palestinian hillside village of Sanjal, for eight years. The shooting rampage, executed with premeditation and in cold blood, according to the court, occurred while he was giving both them and another victim a lift home from work. He stole a security guard’s gun and opened fire, shooting four Palestinians several times, and then reloading to seek out and shoot a fifth victim at his workplace. After the killing spree he either turned himself in to, or was overpowered by, security guards at the settlement. The names of his victims were Khalil Muhammad Ra’uf Saleh Wleiwel, Ahmad ‘Ali Hassan Mansur, Bassam Mussa Ahmad ‘Odeh Tawafshah, and Osama Mussa Ahmad ‘Odeh Tawafshah In the aftermath, Usama’s wife Aisha called for revenge against Israel, the settlers and the then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, saying,
When one of them kills us they say he is crazy, but if an Arab does that to a settler the whole world is up in arms saying he’s a terrorist.
They had worked with him (Weisgan) for eight years. They used to say how decent he was, how they used to eat together, how he used to ask them for our food to take to his wife.
Weisgan worked as a bus-driver, transporting Palestinian laborers to the Shvut Rachel settlement’s aluminum factory, where the victims were employed. The Haaretz newspaper quoted Weisgan having declared, before entering a courthouse outside of Tel Aviv, “I’m not sorry for what I did. I hope someone also kills Sharon.”
On 27 September 2006, a panel of three judges sentenced Weisgan to four consecutive terms of life in prison, for each person he killed, and an additional twelve years in jail. The court also ordered him to pay NIS 228,000 in damages to each of the families of the four people killed, and NIS 100,000 to another man who had been wounded. The panel ruled:
Every one of the victims had a name and an identity… They were the immediate victims of the convicted man’s actions and he must be punished for the murders of each and every one of them. It was a savage murder of innocents, who fell victim to the twisted logic of the accused.
Weisgan has said he has no regrets about his actions because they were a “necessary defense” of the Israeli people. He expressed the hope that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would be assassinated.
On December 22, 2006, Weisgan committed suicide by hanging himself in prison.