Israeli settler loses appeal over killing of Palestinian family

Published September 1, 2022
<p>Amiram Ben Uliel sits before hearing a verdict in the case of the 2015 arson attack, which killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents in the Israeli-occupied West Bank village of Duma, at the Central Lod District Court in Lod, Israel, May 18, 2020. — Reuters/File</p>

Amiram Ben Uliel sits before hearing a verdict in the case of the 2015 arson attack, which killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents in the Israeli-occupied West Bank village of Duma, at the Central Lod District Court in Lod, Israel, May 18, 2020. — Reuters/File

Israel’s supreme court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a Jewish settler sentenced to life in prison over a 2015 firebombing that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents.

Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsha was burnt to death when the family home in the village of Duma in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was firebombed in July 2015.

His parents later died of their injuries. His brother Ahmed, four at the time of the attack, was the sole survivor from the immediate family but was left with severe burns.

Amiram Ben Uliel, 25, was handed three life sentences in September 2020 over the killings, which stirred international disgust and accusations of Israeli laxism.

Ben Uliel, who was also found guilty of two counts each of attempted murder and arson, and conspiracy to commit a hate crime, had launched an appeal with Israel’s supreme court.

But on Thursday, three judges unanimously confirmed the verdict and sentence, according to a copy of the decision seen by AFP.

The judges dismissed the appeal, citing Ben Uliel’s “confession”, a reconstruction of the crime scene and the racial connotations of the murders.

Ben Uliel’s actions “are contrary to all moral values of Judaism”, the judges wrote, adding: “Hatred of other religions and racism are not in accordance with Judaism.”

“The gravity of this crime speaks for itself and no words can describe its horror,” they said.

The murders shone a spotlight on Jewish extremism and sparked accusations that Israel had not done enough to prevent such violence.

Another Israeli man, who was 17 at the time of the killings, was also sentenced in 2020 to 42 months in prison for his role in the attack.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

About 475,000 Jewish settlers currently live in the West Bank in communities considered illegal by most of the international community, alongside some 2.8 million Palestinians.

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