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  • Ahmed Dawabsheh, the survivor of the arson attack that killed his parents and 18-month-old brother, in his grandparents' home.

    Ahmed Dawabsheh, the survivor of the arson attack that killed his parents and 18-month-old brother, in his grandparents' home. | Photo: AFP

Published 9 June 2020
Opinion

In July 2015, Jewish extremist Amiram Ben-Uliel attacked the Dawabsheh family with a firebomb on their home in the occupied West Bank village of Duma. 

The maximum sentence was requested Tuesday against a Jewish settler by the lawyer for relatives of the Palestinian family he firebombed inside their house five years ago. 

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"We demand three life sentences, in addition to an extra 40 years in prison for the settler, as well as a financial compensation of 260,000 shekels (US$75,400) for each of the three victims," lawyer Omar Khamayseh said after a court session, Al Jazeera reported.

In July 2015, Jewish extremist Amiram Ben-Uliel attacked the Dawabsheh family with a firebomb on their home in the occupied West Bank village of Duma. 

The arson attack claimed the life of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh. His mother, Riham, and father, Saad, later died of their wounds, while his four-year-old brother at the time, Ahmad, survived with burns on more than half of his body.

Ben-Uliel was convicted last month of three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of arson and conspiracy to commit a racially motivated crime.

Prosecutors said Ben-Uliel chose the Dawabsheh family house in Duma, on the assumption there were people inside and, before firebombing them, spray-painted "Revenge" and "Long Live King Messiah" on their walls.

The convicted criminal threw a burning Molotov cocktail through the bedroom window where Saad, Riham, and their two children were sleeping before he escaped. His sentencing will take place on July 12 at the Lod District Court, according to the lawyer’s family.

Ben-Uliel belonged to a movement known as the "hilltop youth," a leaderless group of extremist religious-nationalist young Jews who establish illegal outposts in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

As the investigation into the attack dragged on for years, Palestinians have denounced a double-standard, where suspected Palestinians are quickly prosecuted under a military legal system that leaves them with few rights, while Jewish Israelis are protected by the country's criminal laws.

In addition, according to Israeli rights organization Yesh Din, there is a very low percentage of indictments that result from racist crimes committed by Israeli citizens and settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank.

The group supervised1,293 cases between 2005 and 2019 and found that 91 percent were closed without any indictments. 

"The failure to investigate crimes against Palestinians and the increase in the number of offenses committed indicate that the State of Israel fails to protect Palestinians and their property from harm, as it is required to do under international law, and that its attempts to investigate crimes committed in areas under its jurisdiction are futile," Yesh Din said.

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