Inicio NOTICIAS Israel Charges Two Jews Over West Bank Arson Murders

Israel Charges Two Jews Over West Bank Arson Murders

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Itongadol.- Israeli prosecutors filed murder charges on Sunday against two Jewish citizens for the July 31 arson attack in the West Bank that killed three members of a Palestinian family.

 
Amiram Ben-Uliel, a 21-year-old from Jerusalem, was charged with three counts of murder, a minor was charged as an accessory to murder, and two others were charged with violence against Palestinians. It remains unclear whether other suspects held by the Shin Bet and Israel Police were released or if investigations are ongoing.
 
Ben-Uliel was detained by the Shin Bet on December 1. According to the indictment, he committed the act himself. He decided to commit the murders in retaliation for the July murder of Malachai Rosenfeld, not far from Duma. Ben-Uliel scouted Duma with the minor charged as an accessory, who participated in the planning of the attack.
 
On the night of the attack on the Dawabsheh home, he searched for a home that suited his intentions. He prepared firebombs in the Dawabsheh\’s yard and spray-painted graffiti on the walls before throwing the firebombs into the house and fleeing on foot.
 
Ben-Uliel, the eldest son in his family, grew up in the settlement of Karmei Zur. His father Reuven is the rabbi of the settlement and also serves as the rabbi for Mechina Nokdim, a preparatory program for religious youths entering the army. After the murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammad Abu Khdeir, he signed a letter condemning the act.
 
For years, Ben-Uliel was part of the Hilltop Youth movement, although not its head. He was the face of the Ramat Migron outpost, and spent time in the Giulat Tzion outpost and the settlement of Itamar. Two years ago, he married Orian Nizri, an activist known for her extremism and violence. They lived in a bus in the outpost of Adei Ad. After the Duma arson, they moved to Jerusalem and became ultra-Orthodox. The couple has a baby.
 
Ben-Uliel has a history in several criminal cases. He has previously expressed that he does not recognize Israeli courts and demands to be judged according to traditional Jewish law. Ben-Uliel is the only suspect detained in the Duma issue who was not placed under a Shin Bet restraining order, indicating that apparently he somehow managed to evade Shin Bet’s radar.
 
His family released a video Sunday morning stating they believe in his innocence and that Shin Bet torture during the investigation led to his confession.
 
Also charged were Yinon Reuveni, accused of setting fire to the Church of Loaves and Fishes in the Galilee, and another minor, identified only as A., accused of a series of incidents of vandalism and arson against property and cars. Reuveni and two minors were also charged of setting fire to a building near Jerusalem\’s Dormition Abbey last February.
 
A. is a resident of the Tzofim settlement and son of the community\’s rabbi. He is also a member of Tzohar, a religious Orthodox Zionist organization and part of the Hilltop Youth movement. He was inspired to join the movement by his older brother, who is known to Shin Bet as a right-wing extremist with a violent past.
 
A. was detained by Shin Bet in the past, but always released due to lack of evidence. After one of the investigations, he published a video in which he explained that he remained silent during questioning because communicating with Shin Bet is akin to communicating with representatives of the "Kingdom of Evil."
 
Nine suspects have been detained as part of the police and Shin Bet investigation, which is still in progress. Four were charged with murder and arson; two more will be accused of assaulting Palestinians. In total, 23 people were suspected of violence against Palestinians.
 
A break in the case came three weeks ago, when Shin Bet began to use what they termed extraordinary measures during interrogations, first with A. At the beginning, the minor admitted his involvement in other incidents, but not the Duma firebombing. Under torture, he admitted they planned the event, but he had fallen asleep and did not arrive to the location in time. After his incrimination, special interrogation tactics were used on Ben-Uliel, who admitted to the crime and recounted the incident.
 
Some details related to other offenses allegedly committed by the accused will remain under gag order.
 
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told journalists at the beginning of Sunday\’s cabinet meeting that she hopes the suspects behind the Duma attack will receive a fair and just trial. Shaked refused to answer whether or not she trusts the court or if she believes the suspects will receive a fair trial.
 
The Dawabsheh family home in Duma, West Bank, was torched on July 31, immediately killing 18-month-old Ali and critically wounding his mother, father and brother. His mother, Reham, and his father, Sa\’ad, have since died as well. His 4-year-old brother Ahmed is still hospitalized in serious condition.
 
The words "Vengeance" and "long live the Messiah" were spray-painted on the torched home, and an empty house was also set ablaze. An eyewitness reported seeing four men fleeing the scene toward the Ma\’aleh Ephraim settlement.
 
The Israel Defense Forces described the incident as "Jewish terrorism." Following the attack, at the request of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the political-security cabinet approved the use of administrative detention against suspected Jewish terrorists. Such practice is commonly used against Palestinians suspected of terror activities.
 
Lawyers representing the Duma suspects claimed that their clients were subjected to torture during interrogation.
 
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the lawyer of the key suspect in the attack, said that his client was "subjected to sexual harassment, to violation of what is most sacred to him in his world of observing the Torah and its commandments, as well as being deprived of sleep for a very long period."
 
One of the suspects in the case detailed the alleged torture in court: "They turn me upside down until my hands start burning – it feels like they are burning me with a lighter. They are taking me apart, bending my whole back, laughing and looking at me with contempt."
 
According to the lawyers, the suspects confessed under torture to a series of violent incidents, such as the torching of mosques, but they did not confess to the arson of the house in Duma.
 
Remarking on allegations that the Shin Bet was torturing the Duma suspects, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented that all the Shin Bet’s actions comply with the law and are closely supervised by the attorneys general of the state and Justice Ministry, and the courts.
 
 

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