Arab lawmaker on Abu Khdeir verdict: Israeli legal system protects Jewish murderers

Court delays verdict for adult defendant accused of burning Arab teen alive in 2014.

November 30, 2015 10:41
2 minute read.
Yosef Haim Ben David

Yosef Haim Ben David in court November 30, 2015 ‏. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Arab MKs voiced their outrage Monday over the Jerusalem District Court’s decision in the murder of Arab teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive by three Jews in the capital in the summer of 2014.

The court convicted two of the minor defendants in the murder, but it delayed its decision regarding the adult defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, because his lawyer submitted a last-minute legal opinion about his sanity.

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“Muhammad Abu Khdeir was murdered only because he was an Arab, and this time, like many times in the past, when the murderers are Jews, the legal system protects them,” said Joint List head Ayman Odeh. “The state is sending a clear message of forgiveness and understanding when it comes to Jewish terrorism,” he said.

Asked by The Jerusalem Post how a decision to delay deciding, not an acquittal, showed forgiveness for Jewish terror, Odeh’s spokeswoman said that the court’s decision joined the general air of “no defenses” for Palestinian offenders’ rights, but careful protection over Jewish offenders’ rights.

Some 200 people protested outside the Jerusalem District Court during the session on Monday.

MK Yousef Jabareen, also of the Joint List, said the decision to delay the verdict for the central defendant was infuriating. The decision, Jabareen said, “sends a message of forgiveness to criminals that it is possible to evade the law.”

“It is unthinkable that the main defendant will not pay for his crimes immediately. The Palestinian public already does not have faith in the Israeli justice system and this decision only strengthens that belief,” Jabareen said.

At a press conference after the decision was handed down, Abu Khdeir’s father, Hussein, was fuming and said “a crime” has been committed.

“I hope the court throws out [the opinion on defendant’s insanity]. I conclude with words from your book of Ecclesiastes – ‘Futility futility, all is futility,’” he said.

Hussein Abu Khdeir, who in the past said the trial was a farce and a public relations stunt, told Army Radio before the decision was handed down on Monday morning that he wanted the court to sentence the accused killers to life.

“I want that what is done to Arabs will also be done to Jews: life sentences, not pardoning.”

He said that he and his wife were taking pills to deal with the pain of losing their son. “We constantly think about Muhammad, how he burned. It is impossible, it is truly hard for us.”

Regarding his son’s accused killers he said, “These are the new Nazis. I look at them and they want to kill me.”

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

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