Jewish-Israeli man convicted in revenge murder of Palestinian teen


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jewish-Israeli man was convicted of the revenge murder of a Palestinian teen who he and two teenage accomplices burned to death in the Jerusalem forest.

Yosef Ben-David, 31, of Jerusalem was found guilty Tuesday in the Jerusalem District Court of the kidnapping and murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir in July 2014. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

The court in February determined that Ben-David was mentally fit to be sentenced, rejecting his insanity plea that he should not be held responsible for his actions at the time of the kidnapping and murder because of a history of mental illness. The plea noted that Ben-David was under medication for his condition.

“The court has found that at the time he committed the offense, the accused was not psychotic, fully understood the facts, was responsible for his actions, had no difficulty in understanding reality and had the capacity to prevent the crime,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement released Tuesday after the conviction.

The teen’s father, Hussein, called again on Tuesday for Ben-David’s house to be razed under the same policy that calls for the destruction of the homes of Palestinian terrorists.

“We need justice from the court. Their house should be destroyed, as is done to the Arabs,” Hussein Abu-Khdeir said. “I expect that he will remain in prison for life and that he will not receive a pardon.”

The names of Ben-David’s accomplices, who were both 16 at the time of the killing, have not been released publicly. The accomplices were sentenced earlier this month: one to life in prison, the other to 21 years.

The three kidnapped Khdeir, then beat and burned him alive in the forest, soon after the bodies of three Jewish teens kidnapped and murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas were found in the West Bank.

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