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Israel: Settler convicted of murdering Dawabsheh family faces multiple life sentences

June 10, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Amiram Ben-Uliel, a Jewish settler, is lead by police for his sentencing hearing over the 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents, 22 May 2020 [AVSHALOM SASSONI/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Prosecutors in Israel have asked for the heaviest possible sentence for a Jewish settler convicted of killing a Palestinian couple and their baby in an arson attack that also left their four-year-old son scarred for life, the Times of Israel has reported.

Lod District Court has been asked to sentence Amiram Ben-Uliel to three life sentences for setting fire to the Dawabsheh family home in the occupied West Bank village of Duma in July 2015. Ben-Uliel was found guilty last month of three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of arson and conspiracy to commit a racially motivated crime.

“We demand three life sentences,” family lawyer Omar Khamayseh told Al-Jazeera, “in addition to an extra 40 years in prison for the settler, as well as compensation of 260,000 shekels [$75,400] for each of the three victims.”

Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsheh was burnt alive in the attack, and his parents Saad and Riham died later of their injuries. Ali’s older brother, Ahmed, who was four at the time, survived but with 80 per cent burns. During the investigation into the blaze, evidence was found that petrol bombs had been thrown into a bedroom to start the fire.

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The trial was attended by Nasr Dawabsheh, the murdered man’s brother. “We’ve suffered so much in the last five years with the court proceedings,” he told Al-Jazeera. “We had to apply for permits to be present in the court, which has had some 70 sessions. It was our resolve and determination that got the case to reach the sentencing stage.”

Dawabsheh added that the sentence should act as a deterrent for other settlers to think twice before attacking Palestinians. “On a personal level, though, the sentencing will not mean much to us, the Dawabsheh family. It will not bring back Saad or Riham or Ali. We don’t want another Dawabsheh case, and we don’t want another Palestinian child to go through the trauma that Ahmed is still suffering from.”