Israel charges two Jewish extremist youths in Duma killings

Israel/Palestine
on 38 Comments

Israel charged two suspects today for an arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma that killed three Palestinians last summer, ending a five-month investigation into the most high-profile act of settler violence against Palestinians. 

Police named the lead suspect as 21-year old Amiram Ben Uliel, from Jerusalem. In a statement released today Israel’s Ministry of Justice said Ben Uliel is charged on multiple counts for “three acts of murder as well as attempted murder, arson, and criminal conspiracy with racist motives.” Prosecutors did not name his alleged accomplice, a 17-year-old settler. They indicted five others, who are accused of obstruction and carrying out a series of earlier attacks on Palestinians and their property.

On July 31, 2015, assailants set fire to the home of the Dawabshe family in Duma outside of Nablus, burning alive 18-month old Ali Dawabshe. In the weeks that followed the toddler’s parents—Sa’ad Dawabshe, 32, and Riham Dawabshe, 27—died from injuries sustained during the firebombing. The family is survived by four-year old Ahmad Dawabshe, who is still recovering from burns in an Israeli hospital.

Ben Uliel is the son of a rabbi and a member of a “hilltop youth” group, a loose organization of radical settlers who carry out acts of violence against Palestinians in the occupied territory. The other suspect, who is a minor and a West Bank settler, was listed as an accomplice to the murder and also a member of the same extremist group. Police said the accomplice provided logistical support to Ben Uliel but did not participate in the actual arson attack, failing to show up at the meeting point the night of the attack.

The accomplice’s name is withheld as he is a minor and a gag order is placed over revealing his identity.

Contradicting police findings, witnesses from Duma maintained after the attack they saw two suspects fleeing the scene, not one.

Mourners pray over the grave of Sa’ad Dawabshe after his funeral in the West Bank town of Duma, August 8, 2015. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Mourners pray over the grave of Sa’ad Dawabshe after his funeral in the West Bank town of Duma, August 8, 2015. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Palestinian women cry during the funeral of Riham Dawabsha, the mother of a Palestinian child killed in the July firebombing of the family's home, on September 7, 2015 during her funeral at a cemetery in the West Bank village of Duma (Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP)

Palestinian women cry during the funeral of Riham Dawabsha, the mother of a Palestinian child killed in the July firebombing of the family’s home, on September 7, 2015 during her funeral at a cemetery in the West Bank village of Duma (Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP)

A statement from the Ministry of Justice added to the list of criminal acts the charge of “belonging to a terrorist organization.” 

The Ministry of Justice statement continued with outlining key details of the crime that were included in the indictment against Ben Uliel. The timeline of the attack was developed from a confession and reenactment he allegedly gave police, along with testimony from the accused minor:

Ben-Uliel prepared a bag with two bottles full of a flammable liquid, rags, a lighter, a box of matches, gloves and a can of black spray-paint. On the night of 30 July, Ben-Uliel donned dark clothing and set out from his home with the bag in order to meet the accused minor in a cave at the outpost known as ‘Yishuv Da’at.’ After failing to meet the minor, Ben-Uliel decided to carry out the attack on his own. Upon reaching the outskirts of Duma, he tied his shirt around his head to hide his face and put the gloves on his hands. In order to increase the damage and ensure that the home he would set fire to was not abandoned, Ben-Uliel looked for a home with indications that it was inhabited. He first spray-painted the words ‘Revenge’ and ‘Long live the King Messiah’ on the walls of a two-story home belonging to Mamun Dawabshe and then threw a firebomb through one of its windows with the intention of killing its inhabitants. The home, which was empty, went up in flames.

Immediately afterwards, Ben-Uliel turned toward the home of Saad and Raham Dawabshe with the second firebomb in his hand. After trying to open two windows without success, he opened a window to the bedroom in which the family members were then sleeping, lit the firebomb, threw it in and fled on foot. The fire spread and caught four family members.

But it is not just Ben Uliel and the Duma file that will be on trial.

“During the arson and murder investigation into the Duma case investigators managed to link the suspects to other extremely dangerous facts in recent years,” police spokesperson Luba Samri said today.

The minor accused of aiding Ben Uliel was charged with firebombing the Dormition Abbey, a Jerusalem church outside of the Old City walls. The other suspects indicted for obstructing police were charged with property damage in the Beit Safafa neighborhood of Jerusalem and in the village of Kfar Yasuf near Nablus and burning a vehicle and attacking a Palestinian farmer in the Ramallah area.

“Jewish activists carried out various ‘Price Tag’ actions which were characterized by arson and spray-painting graffiti against Muslims and Christians simply because of the religious or national affiliation,” the Ministry of Justice said of the accused ring.

Police said the Duma inquiry was a “complex and tireless effort” coordinated between the police, Israeli’s security services and the state attorney’s office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who labeled the Duma attack an act of “terrorism” within hours, praised today’s indictments. “Enforcing the law is the life’s breath of democracy,” Netanyahu said, adding, “We are a state of law and we will enforce the law throughout the State of Israel and vis-à-vis all citizens of Israel.”

Yet last fall after weeks of police searches and no indictments issued, Palestinians questioned the seriousness of Israeli police. In late September Israel’s defense minister Moshe Ya’alon was heavily criticized for stating, “We know who is responsible, but we will not expose those findings in order to protect our intelligence sources.”

At the time a spokesperson for Ya’alon’s office told Mondoweiss the minister’s words were used out of context and that the security services knew the group behind the attack, but not the identities of specific attackers. Members of Knesset from the Joint Arab List, Israel’s third largest political party and leading Arab-Palestinian faction replied that the minister’s comments demonstrated a lack of commitment to prosecute Israeli-Jews who carry out violence against Palestinians.

The Israeli human rights law firm Yesh Din reported this year that over the past decade Israel has indicted Jews in only 1.7-percent of violence perpetrated against Palestinians.

Advocates for the seven accused have also criticized the government’s handling of this case. They claim confessions from the two lead suspects were coerced under duress.

Attorney Chay Habber, who represents the minor charged in the case, told Arutz Sheva at the courthouse he hoped the trial would remain public in order to reveal the treatment his client received. “This is the first time that charges are filed based on evidence that was taken from a suspect that was using force, that was using torture,” said Habber. He said his cleint spoke to police only after he was physically abused during 40 days of questioning without access to legal counsel. 

An additional 23 suspects have also been detained without charges for unknown periods of time in relation to the case. The state has reserved the right to charge them at a future date.

Outcry over police misconduct also has originated from those close to the lead defendant, Ben Uliel. His wife has alleged he was physically and sexually abused by police and she has stated Uliel was at home with her the night of the arson attack. 

The parents of Ben Uliel said in a video message today they “believe in the innocence of our son, which will be proven in court, and we hope that the courts will reveal the harsh and violent abuse that he has suffered these past weeks during the interrogation process.”

 

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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38 Responses

  1. Marnie
    January 4, 2016, 12:05 am

    “Attorney Chay Habber, who represents the minor charged in the case, told Arutz Sheva at the courthouse he hoped the trial would remain public in order to reveal the treatment his client received. “This is the first time that charges are filed based on evidence that was taken from a suspect that was using force, that was using torture,” said Habber. He said his cleint spoke to police only after he was physically abused during 40 days of questioning without access to legal counsel. ”

    This man must have been off the planet for a while. Torture is usually the first, last and sometimes only method of interrogation used on Palestinians. Torture should be relegated to the pages of history and not SOP in these more “enlightened” times. I don’t believe the use of force, physical or mental abuse (police screaming abuse at Palestinian child) is ever justified. The shock displayed (real or theatrical) by the attorneys for the accused and by the families of accused, etc., is humerous (torture’s okay as long as it’s “them”) considering torture is endemic to the zionist state. The fear of the accused being tortured is so great(ly exaggerated) that “Justice” Minister Ayelet Shaked was compelled to make a house call:

    “And then there is the “us and them” factor. Last week The Forward reported that Justice Minister Shaked personally met with the mother of one of the Jewish terrorism suspects in the Dawabshe murder. Shaked was allegedly assuaging fears that the woman’s son was being tortured by the Shin Bet.”
    972 By Edo Konrad
    |Published January 3, 2016
    Will Jewish terrorism suspects get a ‘fair trial?’

    Would love to have heard that conversation – “Don’t worry mammaleh, that’s only for snakes and their mothers, not saints and defenders of Zion”.

    • amigo
      January 4, 2016, 8:22 am

      “The fear of the accused being tortured is so great(ly exaggerated) that “Justice” Minister Ayelet Shaked was compelled to make a house call:” Marnie

      When the most moral army is compelled to make a “House call ” to a Palestinian family ,it ends in a demolition.Not so for the homes of Jewish terrorists.

      These despicable terrorist criminals will be exonerated on the basis , they were tortured .The shin Beth must have grabbed them by their “long and curly,s ” and threatened them with a “short back and sides, if they did not come clean.

      Israeli justice , sure .

  2. Ossinev
    January 4, 2016, 8:07 am

    @Marnie
    Spot on. When it comes to the Land of Creation all the “normality” bets are off. Can you imagine in a civilized Western democracy a Justice Minister meeting with the mother of an an accused terrorist to reassure her that the accused is being treated properly.

    • John O
      January 4, 2016, 10:27 am

      It’s bizarre. I’m wondering if such a visit would prejudice a fair trial (in a normal country where the rule of law still held).

  3. pabelmont
    January 4, 2016, 8:25 am

    Even if torture was only used once against Jews, it’s good that it come out. American Jews need to know two things, and now they know them: Israel uses torture on prisoners and Jews commit racist (or if you don’t approve of the term “racist”, call it nationalist and religionist) and quite horrible acts, perhaps one could call them terrorist acts. This report in and of itself does not indict Zionism, but it lifts the corner of the rug a bit to see the dirt that’s so long been swept under it. (Of course it also tends to exonerate Israel, seeming to say, “Look, we are even-handed w.r.t. justice” which is of course very far from true.

  4. eljay
    January 4, 2016, 8:49 am

    … “Enforcing the law is the life’s breath of democracy,” Netanyahu said …

    This explains Israel’s severe shortness of breath.

    … “We are a state of law and we will enforce the law throughout the State of Israel and vis-à-vis all citizens of Israel.” …

    What a lovely bit of bullshit from King Bibi, seeing as how Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” that continues with utter impunity to steal, occupy and colonize land outside of its / Partition borders, commit sundry (war) crimes and refuse to honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of Israeli refugees).

  5. asherpat
    January 4, 2016, 9:38 am

    Doesn’t it give you a cognitive dissonance? the blood-thirsty, all-darkness and unfair Zio-regime indicts the blackest of them-all – the “settlers” in a hate crime, tortures them, etc. and all for what?! For murdering Arabs! What is the world coming to?!

  6. gingershot
    January 4, 2016, 11:51 am

    Prosecution of these ‘Hilltop IDF’/’Settler IDF’ will topple the Netanyahu ‘Settler Coalition

    Netanyahu is desperately trying to incite against the Palestinians (See last speech/threats to go after Israeli Arabs after the Tel Aviv attack) to COVER these indictments and further arrests

    Bennett is already on the run to try to survive the indictments I need is under tremendous pressure

  7. a blah chick
    January 4, 2016, 12:36 pm

    Here’s a fearless prediction: no matter how long they serve in prison,. and I doubt it will be more than a few years, it will do nothing to squelch any budding political ambitions any of them might have had.

    They’ve got street cred now.

  8. ckg
    January 4, 2016, 1:26 pm

    “Prosecutors did not name his alleged accomplice, a 17-year-old settler.”

    Richard Silverstein says it’s U.S. citizen Elisha Odess.

  9. Ossinev
    January 4, 2016, 1:37 pm

    Looked at in the round it cannot get more absurd. On the one hand you have Nitay obviusly approving the detention and interrogation of the Duma suspects. This is not out of any kind of sympathy for the victims – he does not give a toss about them. It`s all about containing the blowback from the incident in terms of Israel`s image in Western governments and society.He can`t continue to spew out garbage about “only democracy” ” highest standards of justice for all” etc when this incident as no doubt he hoped will simply not go away at least in the short to medium term.

    On the other hand you have the right wing freakshow Shaked , the Justice Minister FFS ! , one of the many Crypto-Fascists that Nitay has to accommodate in order to stay in power, p…ing all over the notion of democracy and justice by reassuring the family of a man accused of a grotesque multiple murder. that he is being treated properly.

    Only in the Land of Creation.

    BOYCOTT UGLY APARTHEID ISRAEL

    • asherpat
      January 4, 2016, 3:53 pm

      Why “ugly”?! Have you ever visited Israel?

      But beware, look at Allison, she’s “gone native” since she began reporting from the belly of the beast!

      • phylliprezzel
        January 4, 2016, 5:36 pm

        Whatever does asherpat mean by his last sentence?

      • Mooser
        January 4, 2016, 10:51 pm

        “Whatever does asherpat mean by his last sentence?”

        He hasn’t the slightest idea. You can count on that.

  10. DaBakr
    January 4, 2016, 9:26 pm

    The take away from the commentary here is:

    When one hates Israel to the core of their being it can do nothing right, except self destruct.

    • Mooser
      January 4, 2016, 10:47 pm

      The take away from the commentary here is:
      When one hates Israel to the core of their being it can do nothing right, except self destruct”

      Well, some people don’t like certain countries. That’s allowed. Why,”dabakr”, do you have some plan to change things, make people think better about Israel?

    • Kris
      January 4, 2016, 11:22 pm

      @DaBakr: “The take away from the commentary here is: When one hates Israel to the core of their being it can do nothing right, except self destruct.”

      Would Israel be destroying itself if it decided to end its system of ethnic/religious supremacy, and behave like real Jews?

      As in, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation. Go and study it.” –Hillel

      And as in, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8

      How would that be a bad thing?

      • Marnie
        January 5, 2016, 2:57 am

        @Kris –

        Always appreciate the verses you post. However, it’s like casting pearls before swine. You’re preaching to a crowd that mostly believes following these precepts makes one a freier. The torah and God are merely props to most zionists and only used when trying to exact sympathy/continued financing from zombie zionist evangelicals and Jews in the rest of the world. It makes me feel very sad.

      • Kris
        January 5, 2016, 12:26 pm

        Thanks, Marnie. I don’t know why I keep thinking that “Jews” implies “Judaism,” despite all the evidence that this is not the case.

        I guess I’m just whistling in the dark.

        (For those who don’t know, freier is Yiddish for sucker.)

    • talknic
      January 5, 2016, 3:03 am

      @ DaBakr “When one hates Israel to the core of their being it can do nothing right, except self destruct”

      Despite all the warnings and the hundreds of opportunities Israel has been afforded to adhere to the Law and UN Charter, that’s the way Israel is headed. No one is forcing it. No hate necessary.

      The more one warns Israel the more hatred one encounters

      Israel has done nothing right in respect to peace with the Palestinians. NO THING! NOTHING!! ZILCH!!! NADA!!!! NIL!!!!!

      (ooops CAPS and bold must’ve gotten stuck)

    • Marnie
      January 5, 2016, 5:28 am

      Really? With all those Nobel prizes someone could come up with a better plan than that!

      Why should everyone suffer because of the actions of the zionist state?

    • eljay
      January 5, 2016, 7:18 am

      || DaBakr: The take away from the commentary here is: When one hates Israel to the core of their being it can do nothing right, except self destruct. ||

      He keeps her room clean and even brings her tea but the take away from the commentary here is: When one hates the rapist to the core of their being, he can do nothing right except self-destruct.

      Aggressor-victimhood is such a tough gig… :-(

      • DaBakr
        January 5, 2016, 8:19 pm

        @ej

        despite your best efforts your quip makes absolutely no sense as an analogy. but i understand the emotion you put into it.

        @others

        Judas Maccabeus is more my speed rather then Hillel-who took an already 1000s of years old motto that has been understood by a vast array of asstd. cultures and religions and applied it to the bible as a grand unified embodiment. Don’t forget one of the other illustrious mottos from the ancient rabbis: everything law or custom that can be found in the bible-its exact opposite can be found as well.

        so in other words-the whole ‘hillel’ crap is just that. all encompassing and meaningless at the same time.

      • eljay
        January 5, 2016, 9:03 pm

        || @aak: … despite your best efforts your quip makes absolutely no sense as an analogy. … ||

        You love the rapist to the core of your being, so he can do no wrong. I get it.

      • Mooser
        January 5, 2016, 9:09 pm

        “so in other words-the whole ‘hillel’ crap is just that. all encompassing and meaningless at the same time.”

        You tell ’em dude! The Hillel with all that, you know what makes Shammai run! It’s your Masadadammerung brother, and welcome to it!!

  11. olive52
    January 5, 2016, 2:26 am

    Judging from the comments here Israel can do no right, that is understandable from a website like this that fosters hate and criticism, however if the shoe was on the other foot, they would call these murderers martyrs, there would be no trial and no attempt to bring anyone to justice despite the fact that most Palestinians want this violence to stop.

    • John O
      January 5, 2016, 11:31 am

      It’s not that Israel CAN do no right; it’s that Israel DOES not do right. It can change. Indeed, it must if it is to survive.

    • Mooser
      January 5, 2016, 1:24 pm

      ,” that is understandable from a website like this that fosters hate and criticism,”

      Oh, no! Another ‘bad hit’ and NUPV. I’m not sure how much of this the site can take, Captain! (employ Scottish dialect for last sentence)

      • RoHa
        January 5, 2016, 6:33 pm

        “(employ Scottish dialect for last sentence)”

        Scottishish.

      • Qualtrough
        January 6, 2016, 11:40 pm

        Aye Mooser, she kannae take nae more!

    • eljay
      January 5, 2016, 1:39 pm

      || olive52: Judging from the comments here Israel can do no right … ||

      Israel could do right if it weren’t for the fact that Zio-supremacists have spent almost 70 years ensuring that Israel does wrong.

      || … if the shoe was on the other foot, they would call these murderers martyrs, there would be no trial and no attempt to bring anyone to justice … ||

      It never ceases to amaze me how quick you Zio-supremacists are to use acts of injustice and immorality committed by people or organizations – even ones you openly despise – to justify and excuse acts of injustice and immorality committed by your co-collectivists and your “moral beacon”, “light unto the nations”, “Western-style democracy” state.

    • Marnie
      January 6, 2016, 12:38 am

      The zionist state could do all kinds of right, but it mostly chooses not to. The problem with most of the pro-zionist commenters here, and it sounds like you are one also, is an unwillingness, no, a complete refusal to see the crimes comitted on a daily basis by Jews against Palestinians. Your refusal to do that leaves you only one option, and that is to refute every article, to change the context of the discussion, to make comparisons to Iran, Nigeria, ISIS, WHOSIS, and WHATSIS (not the best idea), to make the claim “historic homeland of the Jews” and that history is as dead as the dinosaurs baby, to claim “they started it”, the only safe place in the world for Jews (when it’s obviously NOT) and lest I forget “ANTISEMITISM”. This can’t be taken seriously and never ever should have been. “Israel” is needed by the zionists, not as a safe haven for Jews, but a place where Jewish settlers make the “ultimate sacrifice” to ensure the continuation of the same. How cynical and disgusting. Every Jewish death serves as propaganda for an insecure, racist wannabee messiah, who trots himself off to the UN with regularity, replete with cartoon bombs and stare-downs. He is a buffoon and I believe would definitely take the Samson option before he would relinquish the iron grip he has on Palestinians. Think about that before you condemn honesty in favor of continued lies and darkness.

  12. Ossinev
    January 5, 2016, 7:05 am

    @Asherpat
    In answer to your question – yes I have. As to its ugliness why not have a look at what the light unto the nations has done eg to Gaza and gaze also on its pretty little apartheid “arrangement” in Hebron” , its beautiful separation wall , Gaza fence and its scenic checkpoint cattle pens. In answer to your comment – I have no answer as I haven`t a clue what you are talking about.
    @ DaBakr
    “When one hates Israel to the core of their being it can do nothing right, except self destruct”
    I don`t hate anything or anyone to the core of my being .I loathe and despise Zionists and Zionism and the “country” which they have created. As I have said in previous posts I believe that there are still hundreds of thousands of decent moral Israeli Jews who share the same level of contempt for what their fellow countrymen have done and are doing in Israel and the occupied territories in the name of Judaism. As for “self destruct” Israel is well on its way to doing exactly that and yes given the horrors which it has visited on the Palestinians in particular and the peoples of the region in general it will be very much the “right” outcome.

    BOYCOTT UGLY APARTHEID ISRAEL

  13. hophmi
    January 5, 2016, 12:49 pm

    List of Palestinians who have murdered Israeli civilians arrested, prosecuted, and convicted by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas:

    1.

    • diasp0ra
      January 5, 2016, 1:02 pm

      That’s because either A) They are apprehended by Israel B) They are handed over to Israel by the PA per the security arrangement they have.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 5, 2016, 2:01 pm

        Not to mention that the people hopknee cutely refers to as ‘civilians’ are actually illegal occupiers, many of them armed.

    • eljay
      January 5, 2016, 1:16 pm

      || hophmi: List of Palestinians who have murdered Israeli civilians arrested, prosecuted, and convicted by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas … ||

      Yup, you can always count on Zio-supremacists to defend the actions of their “moral beacon”, “light unto the nations”, “Western-style democracy” state by comparing it to AyerabMooslim organizations they despise and consider agencies of terrorism and for which they have absolutely no respect.

    • Mooser
      January 5, 2016, 9:12 pm

      “List of Palestinians who have murdered Israeli civilians arrested, prosecuted, and convicted by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas:”

      You mean the ones not shot by the Israeli whatever-they-are forces on sight?

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