Israel Charges Four Sheikh Jarrah Residents With Torching Jewish Family's Home

The four Palestinian defendants threw Molotov cocktails at one of a few settler homes in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood

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Palestinians protest as Israeli police prepare to evict a family, Sheikh Jarrah, January.
Palestinians protest as Israeli police prepare to evict a family, Sheikh Jarrah, January. Credit: Mahmoud Illean /AP
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Four residents of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood were charged on Monday with torching the home and car of one of the neighborhood’s Jewish families last month. Both the house and the car were destroyed completely.

The prosecution asked the court to hold all four without bail until the end of the trial. One of the four is a minor. 

According to the indictment, Muataz Hajj Mahmoud, Bilal Jabari, Jamal Husseini and the minor prepared Molotov cocktails and then threw them at the Yoshvayev family’s home.

The Yoshvayevs are one of the few Jewish families in that area of the neighborhood, which has become a symbol for attempts by Jewish settler groups to push Palestinian residents out.

Following the arson attack, Kahanist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir (Religious Zionism) opened a makeshift parliamentary office in the neighborhood, sparking clashes between Palestinians and Jews.

The indictment also accused the four defendants of involvement in other arson attacks in previous months. In November, three of them tried to torch the same house. In December, two of them torched the Yoshvayevs’ car, destroying it completely. Additionally, in January, one of them threw a Molotov cocktail at the Yoshvayevs’ home, causing damage.

The defendants also participated in clashes in the neighborhood, during which they threw stones at Jews and hurled bottles at police, the indictment said.

The four are charged with a long list of crimes, including arson, malicious damage motivated by racism, acts of terror, aggravated attempted assault with a racist motive and aggravated attempted assault of a police officer.

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