Jewish Suspect in Arson Murder of Palestinian Dawabsheh Family Refuses to Testify

Amiram Ben-Uliel, who is suspected of setting ablaze the home of the family and killing three, was set to testify in Court Wednesday but his attorney says he changed his mind because he felt he endured 'injustice'

Amiram Ben-Uliel being led by police into his hearing at the Lod District Court on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
\ Ilan Assayag

Amiram Ben-Uliel, the suspect in the 2015 murder of the Dawabsheh family in Kfar Duma, decided to remain silent at the Lod District Court on Wednesday.

The murder suspect was set to testify, but his attorney issued a statement in his name that Ben-Uliel had decided not to do so in order to give expression to "the feelings of injustice" he said he had endured during the preliminary proceedings of his trial.

Two of Ben-Uliel's confessions were ruled inadmissible because they were obtained through torture. A third confession was eventually accepted. The latter included a reenactment of the murder, leading the prosecution to believe that he committed the murder. 

>> Read more: The false innocence of Jewish terrorism | Opinion ■ Who is Amiram Ben-Uliel, the alleged killer of the Dawabsheh family?

In the attack, which took place in July 2015, the Dawabsheh family home was struck by a firebomb. The parents, Sa'ed and Reham, died of their injuries within days. Their one-year-old toddler son Ali was burned to death.

Justice Ministry officials told Haaretz after the preliminary proceedings that the prosecution held additional evidence, including circumstantial evidence and concealed details which indicate that Ben-Uliel knew about the murder. 

FILE Photo: A picture of 18-month-old Palestinian baby Ali Dawabsheh who was killed after his family's house was set on fire in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus July 31, 2015.
Reuters

Ben-Uliel proclaims his innocence. A relative of his said Wednesday: "After all the confessions of the minor were disqualified, after the court ruled that Ben-Uliel was tortured and disqualified some of his statements, and after the prosecution retracted further indictments in the case after it emerged that the suspects' confessions were extracted under unreasonable and illegal duress, the time has arrived for the defense to tell the court and the Israeli public what really happened in Duma. Amiram is innocent. We will prove his innocence."

The court approved last month a plea bargain with the minor who has been charged with involvement in planning the crime.

According to the plea deal, the minor confessed and will be convicted of conspiracy to commit arson of the family's home in a racially-motivated crime, as well as involvement in other hate crimes. The prosecution agreed not to seek more than five-and-a-half years prison time.

Ben-Uliel, 24, grew up in the settlement of Karmei Zur, which is located in the Etzion bloc. He later lived in illegal West Bank outposts. He is charged with three counts of murder and attempted murder regarding unsuccessful attempts to set ablaze another house. According to the indictment, he committed the crime alone as revenge for the murder of Malachi Rosenfeld, who had been murdered near Duma a month earlier.