Five years after the vicious arson attack that killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh, his parents Saad and Riham, and orphaned his then four-year-old brother Ahmad, one of the Israeli settlers responsible for their deaths was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in prison.
25-year-old Amiram Ben-Uliel was convicted in May by the Lod District Court three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of arson, and conspiracy to commit an ethnically-motivated crime, which carries up to a life sentence in prison.
Monday’s ruling reflected three life sentences for the above crimes, along with 40 additional years of prison time for other crimes, as was asked of the court by the prosecutors.
According to the indictment, Ben-Uliel firebombed the Dawabsheh family home, along with another uninhabited home in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, with the intention of harming as many Palestinians as possible.
Despite what many say was a clear, racially-charged motive to harm Palestinians and instill fear in their community, the court acquitted Ben-Uliel of charges that he belonged to a terrorist organization.
A second Israeli minor that took part in planning the attack, however, was found to be a part of a terrorist organization. He was convicted on charges of being an accomplice to the crime, and is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.
According to Haaretz, in the wake of sentencing Ben-Uliel’s wife maintained his innocence, saying “all the evidence” showed that “my husband did not do it.”
Ben-Uliel’s lawyers had previously attempted to get him acquitted, and it is expected that they will appeal his sentence to the Israeli Supreme Court.
Palestinians welcomed Monday’s sentencing, with Palestinian members of the Arab-majority Joint List calling the sentencing an “important moment.”
“The sentence is an important moment, when too many murders of Palestinians do not even reach trial,” MK Yousef Jabareen said in a statement on Twitter, adding that “this does not clear the blame of the [Israeli] ministers who incited political assassination and created an atmosphere of racist hatred.”
Head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh described the sentencing as only “partial justice,” saying that “full justice will be done at the end of the occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.”
Hussein Dawabsheh, the father of Riham and the guardian of now 10-year-old Ahmad, said that the sentencing “will not bring anything back,” echoing his previous sentiments that the conviction will not return his daughter to him, and will never ease the trauma that Ahmed experienced that day.