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2 Israelis handed murder charges for arson attack on Dawabsha family

Jan. 3, 2016 12:32 P.M. (Updated: April 6, 2016 10:26 A.M.)
Relatives carry the body of Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha, through the streets of the West Bank village of Duma during his funeral on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Thomas Coex, File)
By: Emily Mulder

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Two Israeli suspects were handed murder charges on Sunday for the deadly arson attack that killed three members of the Palestinian Dawabsha family in the occupied West Bank last summer.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a joint investigation by police, the Shin Bet, and the District Attorney’s office officially came to a close, bringing indictments against Amiram Ben-Uliel as well as an Israeli minor.

Ben-Uliel, a 21-year-old from Jerusalem, was charged with three counts of murder while the minor was charged as an accessory to murder, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Al-Samri said that dozens of suspects including adults and minors were arrested during the investigations. Information gathered from interrogations was also used as evidence linking a number of suspects to price tag attacks carried out in recent years.

Yinon Reuveni was charged alongside several minors for torching the Church of Dormition in Jerusalem, a Palestinian taxi in the village of Yasuf south of Nablus, as well as a fodder store in Aqraba south of Nablus.

Several Israeli minors were also indicted for torching vehicles in Beit Safafa in two separate attacks and attacking a Palestinian shepherd near the illegal settlement of Kochav Shahar, al-Samri said.

All indictments included "racially-motivated backgrounds,” the police spokesperson said.

The indictments as well as a cancellation of a gag-order still in place regarding details of the case have been submitted to the central court in Lod, al-Samri added.

The spokesperson confirmed that a reenactment of the Dawabsha arson attack had taken place at the scene of the crime in the Palestinian village of Duma as part of investigations.

Al-Samri also said that some of the suspects were put under interrogation following suspicion that they had “impeded investigations and hid information.”

The charges come some five months after suspects belonging to a Jewish terror organization set the home of the Dawabsha family ablaze, killing 18-month-old Ali Saad immediately.

The infant’s parents, Riham and Saad, later died from severe burns, leaving 4-year-old Ahmad Dawabsha the only surviving member of the family.

Several suspects in the case were detained in November however the majority of information on those arrested remained under a gag order requested by the Israeli police.

Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet came under fire last month from far-right groups alleging that the agency used torture during investigations into the suspects.

Israeli leadership has largely defended the agency, who in the wake of the allegations released a statement warning against the growing influence of Jewish extremist groups over the Israeli government.

Following the attack on the Dawabsha family Israeli leadership pledged justice for the perpetrators, largely labelled “terrorists” by officials across the political spectrum.

The pledge was slammed by Palestinian leadership and rights groups who said Israel’s policy of impunity towards settlers enabled the attack to be carried out in the first place.

The UN reported in September that complaints lodged by Palestinians against settler attacks have a 91 percent chance of being dismissed without effective action, whereas around 95 percent of settler complaints against Palestinians proceed to court.
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