Israeli Settler Sentenced to Life in Jail for Deadly 2015 Duma Arson Attack
An Israeli court sentenced a Jewish settler to life imprisonment on Monday for killing a Palestinian couple and their baby in a 2015 arson attack in the West Bank.
The deaths of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh and his parents Saad and Riham in the village of Duma contributed to a surge of Israeli-Palestinian violence after peace talks stalled in 2014.
Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21 at the time of the killings, was convicted in May of three counts of murder and two charges of attempted murder in what a court determined were racially-motivated crimes.
Israel‘s Shin Bet internal security service, which had interrogated Ben-Uliel, hailed that verdict as “an important milestone in the struggle against Jewish terrorism.”
On Monday, a district court in Lod in central Israel sentenced Ben-Uliel to three consecutive life terms for the murders and another 20 years for the attempted murders.
Ben-Uliel firebombed the Dawabsheh family home and another dwelling in Duma after spray-painting “Revenge” and “Long Live King Messiah” on their walls, the Lod court found.
Another Dawabsheh son, Ahmed, survived with severe burns.
Ben-Uliel has said he intends to appeal the conviction.
“He asserts his innocence and contends the confession was extracted through torture,” Ben-Uliel’s attorney, Itzak Bam, told Reuters.
But the court’s ruling said his confession included details from the arson scene that only a perpetrator could know. He was acquitted of a charge of belonging to a terrorist organization.
A second, underage defendant in the case was convicted as an accessory as part of a plea bargain. His sentence is pending.
Israeli officials say investigations into Duma and other attacks by Jewish militants against Palestinians have been hampered by the suspects’ operating in tight-knit cells and eluding electronic surveillance.