Minor Involved in Planning of Torching Palestinian Family's Home Gets 3.5 Years

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The minor involved in the Dawabsheh family arson murder at the Lod District Court, October 24, 2019.
The minor involved in the Dawabsheh family arson murder at the Lod District Court, October 24, 2019.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

An Israeli minor convicted with involvement in planning the 2015 torching that killed three members of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family was sentenced on Wednesday to three and a half years in prison.

The Central District Court in Lod ruled that the minor had already served 32 of the 42 months to which he was sentenced, leaving him with 10 remaining month's imprisonment.  

The minor was convicted of being a member of a terrorist organization in October 2019. The Court had struck a plea agreement reached in May 2019 with the prosecution, in which the minor admitted to conspiring to set fire to the Dawabsheh family home for racist motives, and involvement in other hate crimes.

The Dawabsheh family home arsonCredit: Moti Milrod

Lawyers Yael Atzmon and Dana Alon, of the Central District Prosecution, said in a statement that with the sentence, "The court once again sends a message, according to which someone who commits crimes motivated by ideology and racism as part of membership to a terrorist organization will be punished with imprisonment behind bars."  

The Dawabsheh family’s home in the West Bank village of Duma, south of Nablus, was torched in the night of July 30, 2015. Sa'ad and Reham Dawabsheh and their 18-months-old child Ali all died in the fire or following injuries; only Ali's older brother, Ahmad, who was four at the time, survived, despite sustaining severe burns.

The main suspect in the case, Amiram Ben-Uliel, was sentenced on Monday to three life sentences plus 17 years in prison for attempted murder and additional 10 years for arson. The minor's name was explicitly mentioned in Ben-Uliel confession, which was accepted into evidence. 

10-year-old Ahmed Dawabsheh shows a partially burnt family photo his house in Nablus, West Bank on June 13, 2020.Credit: Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via AFP

Although the plea bargain was approved by the court, the minor wasn't automatically charged due to his age. The count of membership in a terrorist organization was left out of the plea bargain, and it was decided that both sides would plead their cases based on the evidence presented during the trial. 

Alongside the minor's involvement in the Douma attack, the crimes agreed on in the plea bargain are arson of a storeroom in the village of Akraba and vandalism with racist motives; setting a taxi on fire and scrawling graffiti in the village of Yasuf and slashing tires in the East Jerusalem Arab village of Beit Tzafafa. 

The drawn-out legal proceedings created controversy in Israel, not only due to the graphic nature of the attack, but also issues with the ways in which multiple confessions by the suspects were obtained by interrogators

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