The High Court of Justice on Thursday, 23 Shevat, turned down a petition from Yosef Chaim Ben-David, 31, the Jewish man convicted of kidnapping/murder of Jerusalem Arab teen Mohammed Abu-Khadir, who was sixteen at the time of his death.
Three defendants were convicted in the abduction of the teen from Beit Haninah, forcing him into a waiting car, driving to the Jerusalem Forest near Har Nof, beating the youth and then setting him afire while alive R”L.
Two of the defendants were minors at the time. Ben-David was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 20 years, while one accomplice received life in prison and the other 21 years. All three appealed to the court and all three were turned down. Ben David had pleading insanity.
Ben David and his accomplices said the killing was in revenge for three Israeli teens abducted earlier that summer and killed by Palestinians allied with Hamas. The incidents helped propel Israel to war in Gaza.
Heading the panel of justices was Yitzhak Amit, who read from the verdict: “The murder can be defined as a strategic attack that ignited Jerusalem in general and East Jerusalem in particular. The murder requires a serious soul-searching in Israeli society regarding dealing with the astonishment of racism and their offshoots, soul-searching to our very core regarding racism, see its evil ways and remove this evil from your midst”.
Hussein Abu-Khadir, the father of the victim, applauded the court’s decision. “They did not just burn Muhmad but destroyed an entire family” he exclaimed. I could not believe they appealed to reduce their sentences. If the court would reduce their sentences, it would to lead to more criminals like them. I want Muhmad to be the last sacrifice like this”.
After the murder investigation revealed the facts in the case, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called it a ‘nationalistic attack’ and as a result, the Ministry of Defense viewed Muhmad as a victim of terror and his family received compensation in line with benefits given to bereaved families.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)