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  • Jewish settler Amiram Ben-Uliel facing trial in Lod District Court for the arson attack an entire Palestinian family in Lod, Israel. May 18, 2020.

    Jewish settler Amiram Ben-Uliel facing trial in Lod District Court for the arson attack an entire Palestinian family in Lod, Israel. May 18, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@JacobMagid

Published 14 September 2020
Opinion

The Israeli court has sentenced Jewish extremist settler Amiram Ben-Uliel for the 2015 arson attack, which killed a Palestinian toddler and his two parents in their home.

Ben-Uliel was convicted in May by the Lod District Court for this fatal attack on the family's house in occupied West Bank and found guilty on two counts of attempted murder and arson, as well as conspiracy to commit a hate crime.

Killing 18-month old Ali Dawabsheh and his two parents, Riham and Saad, yet sparing his brother Ahmad, who remains severely burned, the actions were "meticulously planned, stemming from the radical ideology he held, and racism," the court found.

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Dawabsheh's grandfather, in court for the ruling, said it brought him "no joy," saying it will "not bring back my family." He further asked journalists: "What will the court's decision give me? What will it give to Ahmad? It won't return anything to him."

Ben-Uliel, whose vigilante attack came during a wave of similar aggressions on West Bank Palestinians by Jewish settlers in 2015, will spend a minimum of 15 years in prison, backdated to 2015, and pay nearly a million shekels ($290,000) in compensation. 

Although acquitted of belonging to a "terrorist group," Ben-Uliel is part of the "hilltop youth," an amorphous group of young Jewish settlers who set up unauthorized clusters of trailers on West Bank hilltops and clash with Palestinians and even Israeli security forces perceived to limit their settlement activity.
 
Ben-Uliel first firebombed another Palestinian home he and others had staked out, yet because nobody was home, he moved on to the Dawbsheh family home in Duma, near Nablus, spray-painting "Revenge" and "Long Live King Messiah" before throwing the second petrol bomb through the bedroom window where the couple and their two children were sleeping.
 
The murders shine a light on continued Jewish attacks on Palestinians, sparking accusations that Israel does not do enough to prevent these attacks, and exposing a double-standard in which Palestinians are subject to a military legal system granting them few rights. In contrast, Jewish Israelis are protected by the country's criminal laws.  
 

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