Israel Sentences Killers of Palestinian Teen to Life, 21 Years

A Jerusalem court sentenced two Israeli teens for the July 2014 kidnapping and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Thursday.

The defendants, whose identities were concealed because they were minors at the time they attacked Muhammed Abu-Khdeir, were convicted of the crime this past November.

One of the teens was convicted of attempted aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted arson, murder and abduction for the sake of murder. The other was convicted of murder and abduction for the sake of murder.

A third defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, of the Adam settlement in the West Bank, was also found to have carried out the crimes for which he was accused, but the court delayed issuing a sentence while it considers the last-minute submission of an insanity plea claiming that Ben-David was not responsible for his actions at the time of the kidnapping and murder. Ben-David has a history of mental illness and has been under medication for his condition, the original indictment said. His case reportedly will be considered in court on Feb. 11.

Ben-David said upon his arrest that the motive for the killing was the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, whose bodies were found shortly before he and the others abducted Abu-Khdeir and burned him to death.

The first defendant, who is now 17-years-old, was convicted of actively helping to kill Abu-Khdeir and was sentenced to life in prison, an additional three-year sentence, and NIS 35,000 in restitution to two Palestinian families, The Times of Israel reported on Thursday. The second defendant, who is 16-years-old, received a 21-year sentence and was ordered to pay NIS 30,000 to Abu-Khdeir’s family.

The murder of Abu-Khdeir was recognized as an act of terrorism and roundly condemned by Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called on the police to work quickly to solve the case. Security forces made arrests a few days after the crime.

On Thursday, Ynet reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with the families of 11 Palestinian terrorists, calling them “martyrs,” hours after Israeli policewoman Hadar Cohen was killed in a Jerusalem shooting and stabbing attack.

[Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90 ]