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Double standard seen as Israel sentences minors involved in Abu Khdeir murder to prison but no punitive measures

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Two Israeli minors were convicted in a Jerusalem district court Thursday afternoon for the abduction and killing of a 16-year old Palestinian boy in July 2014. Mohammed Abu Khdeir was taken from outside of his home by three assailants who later poured gasoline on him, burned him alive, and left his body in a field.

One of the killers aged 17 was sentenced to life in prison for his role in pouring the incendiary material over Abu Khdeir, and the younger defendant aged 16 was sentenced to a lesser 21 years as the court ruled he participated in the kidnapping, but not the murder. Both were ordered to pay the surviving family around $7,500 in reparations.

The three judge panel explained in their decision the lesser sentence for the younger killer.

“His actions are also vicious, as he captured the deceased, prevented him from resisting, assisted in strangling him. But nevertheless, he did not take part physically in the last stage that led to his beating and the pouring of fuel or oil on his body,” the sentencing statement said.

Mohammed Abu Khdier, the 16-year old Palestinian from Jerusalem who was abducted and burned alive in July 2014. (Photo: AFP)
Mohammed Abu Khdier, the 16-year old Palestinian from Jerusalem who was abducted and burned alive in July 2014. (Photo: AFP)

In Israel the identities of minors accused of crimes is sealed. Such lengthy prison terms are rare for underage criminals in Israeli courts, even so the Abu Khdeir family is not satisfied with the ruling.

“We are really disappointed feeling sad and angry,” said Amsam Abu Khdeir hours after the judgment was issued. She hoped the court would issue additional punitive measures against the family members of the minors, and vowed her family would appeal for harsher punishment.

“We want to treat them as they treat any Palestinian, to demolish their houses, and withdraw their nationality, and to get a lifetime in prison. As they [the killers] prevent Mohammed from life, they should taste the same and whatever this court sentence is it won’t be enough for us. Nothing will bring Mohammed back to us. They burned him for the second time today” continued Abu Khdeir. 

Over the past year with increased attacks by Palestinians on Israelis in political violence, Israeli courts have upheld the controversial practice of punitive home demolitions against the Palestinian attacker’s family. To date, Israel has not enforced the same policy of deterrence to violence crimes committed by Israeli attackers.

Disagreement on sentencing also existed within the three judge panel that made today’s ruling. Dissenting jurist Rafi Carmel issued a minority opinion in favor of a life sentence for both of the convicted.

“In circumstances where all lines of legality and morality are crossed, personal considerations [that led to the lighter sentence] must be rejected in light of the public interest and the need for uncompromising deterrence,” Carmel’s decision said, reported the Times of Israel.

A third accused of killing Abu Khdier, alleged ringleader Yosef Chaim Ben-David, 31, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Adam, is still awaiting sentencing. He was supposed to be the first of the three to receive punishment in court last month, however, his lawyers filed a petition for the judges to review a new physiological evaluation–Ben-David confessed to the crime days after the killing and led police on a reenactment tour across Jerusalem. His punishment will be issued in the coming days on February 11th.

The state’s attorney prosecuting the case is seeking another life sentence.

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So, after a YEAR AND A HALF they finally got a sentence for only two of them because the other guy has to get yet another psych evaluation. It’s still not over. These are stiff sentences but it remains to be seen whether they will stand. So far as I am aware no one in their respective communities turned them in. The cops had to come and get them. I mention this because Palestinians are… Read more »

No punitive measures? You mean aside from a life sentence for the 17 year old and a 20 year sentence for the 16 year old? How exactly did you become so unmoored from reality? Look, if you really want to see a double standard, how about the (non)coverage of the 3 arab MK’s that met with the families of the terrorists that killed innocent Israeli’s yesterday. If Bibi met with the parents of these Jewish… Read more »

RE: “A third accused of killing Abu Khdier, alleged ringleader Yosef Chaim Ben-David, 31, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Adam, is still awaiting sentencing. . . Ben-David confessed to the crime days after the killing and led police on a reenactment tour across Jerusalem.” ~ Deger TO GET A TASTE OF THE UNMITIGATED DEPRAVITY INVOLVED IN THIS HUMAN SACRIFICE, SEE: “Abu Khdeir murder suspect recounts grisly killing” | by Daniel K. Eisenbud… Read more »

@Herchel “No punitive measures? You mean aside from a life sentence for the 17 year old and a 20 year sentence for the 16 year old? How exactly did you become so unmoored from reality” So Herchel since you seem to think that you are moored in reality please answer these questions. Do you think that the homes of these killers should be demolished as they would be if they were Palestinians convicted of the… Read more »

His actions are also vicious, as he captured the deceased, prevented him from resisting, assisted in strangling him. But nevertheless, he did not take part physically in the last stage that led to his beating and the pouring of fuel or oil on his body,” the sentencing statement said.