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Supreme Court rejects insanity plea for Israeli killer of Palestinian teenager

Yosef Ben-David and two teenage nephews abducted and killed Mohammed Abu Khdeir in a 'revenge attack'

    Yosef Haim Ben-David at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem before his hearing on Thursday
    Yosef Haim Ben-David at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem before his hearing on Thursday (Photo: Flash90)

    Three far-right Jewish Israeli extremists who abducted and killed a Palestinian teenager in 2014 have had their appeals rejected by the Israeli Supreme Court.

    The court, which upheld their original sentences, described their actions as “a strategic terrorist attack”.

    Yosef Ben-David, 29, and his two nephews kidnapped 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir from East Jerusalem in July 2014. They beat him, before pouring gasoline on him and burning him alive.

    The Jerusalem District Court found all three guilty of murder in 2016. The two nephews, aged 16 and 17, were not named because they were minors.

    Ben David and one of his nephews were sentenced to life imprisonment, while the other was sentenced to 21 years. All three were also ordered to pay fines of tens of thousands of Shekels to the Khdeir family.

    The Supreme Court rejected Ben David’s plea of insanity as well as claims by his two accomplices that they had not meant to kill Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

    The justices who heard the case described how the three perpetrators had “emerged from a dark tunnel of racism, ignorance and hate”, and called for “profound self-examination from top to bottom in Israeli society as to dealing with the phenomenon of racism and its metastases.”

    The three attackers said they had killed the Palestinian teenager as revenge for the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teenagers, Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, by Hamas in the West Bank the previous month.

    The bodies of the three Jewish teenagers were discovered a couple of days before the Jewish extremists carried out their “revenge” attack.

    The parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir were in court for today’s hearing.

    His father Hussein Abu Khdeir welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision, but called for the homes of the three Jewish extremists to be demolished, just as Israel regularly does in instances where Palestinians attack Jews.

    He told journalists outside the courtroom that the attackers who had killed his son “were like Nazis”.

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