Jewish suspect cuts plea deal in Duma terror case

The State Prosecutor is still pushing to have the minor convicted of membership in a terrorist group.

By AVISHAI GRINZAIG,
May 13, 2019 02:36
2 minute read.
A girl looks at the damage inside the house of Palestinian Dawabsheh family in Duma, 2018

A girl looks at the damage inside the house of Palestinian Dawabsheh family after it was torched in the village of Duma near Nablus, May 11, 2018. (photo credit: ABED OMAR QUSINI/REUTERS)

Murder charges were dropped against a Jewish suspect in the Duma terror case, after he cut a plea-bargain deal for reduced charges with the State Prosecutor’s office.

The suspect, who is now an adult, was a minor in July 2015 when Jewish extremists firebombed the Dawabshe family home in the West Bank town of Duma near Nablus.

Sa’ad Dawabshe, 31; his wife, Reham, 27; and their 18-month-old son, Ali were killed in that attack.

As part of the plea bargain, the suspect – whose name has been withheld – pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit a racially motivated act of arson.

Charges were also dropped against him for any involvement in the 2016 arson attack where Jerusalem’s Dormition Abbey was torched.

He is still facing charges in relation to three other ideologically motivated incidents, including the torching of a Palestinian taxi in Kafr Yussuf, the burning of a warehouse in Aqraba and vandalism in Beit Safafa.

He has refused to plead guilty to membership in the Jewish terrorist group known as Hamered (The Revolt).

The State Prosecutor is expected to request that the teen serve five years in prison for his crimes, yet his attorney Adi Kidar is expected to file for an immediate release given that he has already served three years in remand.

The plea bargain was submitted Sunday to the District Court in Lod. Kedar said that the new indictment against his client shows that he had not harmed anyone and that it disconnected him completely from the Duma murders.

Citing the “extreme violence” used on his client, Kidar said that, “the court criticized the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) as well as the state prosecutor.” He expressed hope that his client might eventually be able to lead a normal life and “share the horrors he endured in his integration.”

The Shin Bet, however, said that they are pleased that on Sunday the results of the plea bargain are such that it is understood that the teen participated in the plotting of the attack on the Palestinian family. His Sunday admittance is the first time he expressed his involvement not under duress.

“The state prosecutor and the court are giving a green light to a Jewish suspect, who will leave prison and continue the murder spree he and his friend started,” said Husain Dawabshe, who lost his daughter and grandson in the murders.

Another grandson, Ahmed – who was then four years old – survived the attack with severe burn injuries.

Dawabshe told The Jerusalem Post’s sister newspaper Maariv that his grandson woke up this morning screaming after he had a nightmare in which settlers came “to destroy our house.”

“Following this plea bargain, I don’t have faith in the state prosecution,” he said, “nor in lawyers or anyone else.

“When a Palestinian has a dream about carrying out an attack and he says it to himself in the morning, he gets 25 years in prison,” Dawabshe continued. “There is no justice.”

A Hamas spokesperson said that the decision by the state prosecutor “proves that all Zionist institutions take part in committing crimes against the Palestinian people.”

The Shin Bet stressed that it believes it has the murderer of the Dawabshe family under arrest. According to the security services, the alleged killer is Amiram Ben Oliel. His investigation is ongoing.

Hagay Hacohen translated and contributed to this report. The interview with Dawabshe was done by Yasser Okby.


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