An Israeli court sentenced a Jewish settler to life in prison plus 20 years on Sept. 14 for murdering a Palestinian family in a 2015 firebomb attack on their home in the occupied West Bank. The district court determined that Amiram Ben-Uliel led a racially-motivated attack on the Dawabsheh home in Duma village, and spray-painted the terms “Revenge” and “Long Live the Messiah” on the home’s walls in Hebrew alongside a depiction of the Star of David. The attack killed Saad Dawabsheh, 32, and Riham Dawabsheh, 27, along with their 18-month-old son, Ali. Then four–year–old Ahmed Dawabsheh was the only family member to survive the attack, with severe burns. Judge Ruth Lorch stated that Ben-Uliel did not commit “a reckless act” in “a spontaneous manner,” but acted in a “meticulously planned” manner “stemm[ing] from racism and an extremist ideology.”
Ben–Uliel stated that he intends to appeal his conviction. His lawyer Itzak Bam told Reuters that Ben–Uliel maintains his innocence and claims his confession was extracted through torture. However, the court’s ruling asserts that Ben–Uliel’s confession included details that only a perpetrator could know. The court acquitted him of charges of belonging to a “terrorist organization.”
A panel of judges further ordered Ben–Uliel to pay $288,893 in damages to surviving Dawabsheh family members within 90 days.
As part of a plea bargain, the court convicted a second underage defendant of assisting in the attack. That sentence is pending.
From Jurist, Sept. 16. Used with permission.