Three Life Sentences for Accused Duma Killer

The scene of a burned house in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Shechem, July 31, 2015, after an arson attack. (Flash90)

An Israeli man found guilty of carrying out a deadly 2015 firebombing in the Arab village of Duma that killed an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents was sentenced Monday.

The Lod District Court gave Amiram Ben Uliel, 26, three life sentences.

Ben Uliel, along with a teenage accomplice, was convicted previously over the attack in Duma. The attack claimed the lives of Sa’ad and Riham Dawabsha and their 18-month-old son Ali. Five-year-old Ahmed was the lone survivor of the attack.

The accomplice will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Apart from the life sentences, he also received 20 additional years for injuring Ahmed Dawabsha and for firebombing a second, empty home. He was ordered to compensate Dawabsha and the owner of the second home with NIS 258,000 ($75,000) each.

The judge wrote in the decision that Ben Uliel “has not taken responsibility for his actions.”

Ben Uliel’s attorneys said they will appeal the ruling to the High Court.

While Ben Uliel confessed to the attack on several occasions during his interrogation by the Shin Bet, some of those confessions were thrown out by the court in 2018 after judges determined they had been given either during or immediately after he had undergone “enhanced interrogation,” or torture.

According to the conviction, Ben Uliel and the teenage accomplice had planned to carry out an attack against Palestinians as revenge for a drive-by shooting days earlier in which Israeli civilian Malachi Rosenfeld, Hy”d, was killed.

When the younger accomplice failed to show up on time at the rendezvous point in July 2015, Ben Uliel decided to carry out the attack on his own. He entered the Duma village and sprayed Hebrew graffiti on one home, then hurled Molotov cocktails through the windows of a pair of homes. The first building was empty. The second was the home of the Dawabsha family, who were asleep.

The teenage accomplice, whose name is barred from publication as he was a minor at the time of the incident, reached a plea agreement with the State Prosecutor’s Office last May in which he admitted to having planned the torching of the Dawabsha home.

The prosecution has asked the court not to sentence the accomplice to more than five and a half years in prison. Deducted from the sentence will be the time the teenager has already spent behind bars — about two and a half years.

The court last week rejected a bid by defense attorneys to overturn Ben Uliel’s conviction, claiming that interviews given by Ahmed Dawabsha, now 10, to Al Jazeera in January of this year contradicted evidence the court had used to convict Ben Uliel.