by Michael Bachner/TPS The Jerusalem District Court convicted Yosef Chaim Ben David, 29, on Tuesday morning of the abduction and murder of Jerusalem Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in July 2014. The teen was on his way to a mosque in his neighborhood, Shuafat, when he was kidnapped. The incident rattled the region and played a key role in escalating the tensions leading up to the summer war in Gaza.
Ben David, from the community of Adam, was the central suspect in the murder, along with two minors. His verdict was delayed by several months to determine his mental state, following claims by his lawyers that he was mentally ill and not responsible for his actions.
The court, however, ruled that Ben David “was not in a psychotic state, fully understood what he was doing, had control over his actions and had the ability to refrain from committing the crime.”
Abu Khdeir was 16 years old when he was abducted and burned alive in Jerusalem by the three Israeli Jews. The murderers claimed they wanted to avenge the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens by Hamas terrorists just days earlier. The two atrocities sent tensions soaring between Israelis and Arabs from the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, culminating in the IDF’s 2014 Gaza campaign, Operation Protective Edge.
Ben David’s two nephews, 16 and 17 years old, were convicted in January of committing the murder along with him. One of them received a life sentence. The other was sentenced to 21 years in prison after the court ruled that he played a lesser role in the murder.
Before the verdict, Abu Khdeir’s father Hussein called on the Israeli government to demolish the homes of his son’s murderers, in keeping with Israeli policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinian Authority terrorists. “We need justice from the court,” he said. “These murderers should have their homes demolished. Such people cannot be granted parole. He needs to serve a life sentence.”
Following the conviction, the state prosecution released a statement saying that Ben David committed the murder “out of nationalistic vengeful motives, also dragging his underage relatives with him who participated in the heinous crime and were sentenced to many years behind bars.”
In the Palestinian Authority and in Gaza, people celebrate the murders of Israeli Jews, honking car horns and passing out sweets to strangers in the streets when an attack has taken place.
Public squares, special events and streets are named for especially “successful” terrorists so their deeds will be remembered and glorified for future generations.TPS / Tazpit News Agency