Middle East

Israeli gets 3 life sentences for deadly 2015 arson attack

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli court on Monday handed down three life sentences to a Jewish extremist convicted in a 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents.

The Lod District Court found Amiram Ben-Uliel, a Jewish settler, guilty of murder in May for the killing of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh by firebombing his home in the West Bank village of Duma.

The toddler’s mother, Riham, and father, Saad, later died of their wounds. Ali’s 4-year-old brother Ahmad survived the attack.

The court said Ben-Uliel’s “actions were meticulously planned, and stemmed from the radical ideology he held, and racism.” It said the punishment was “close to the maximum penalty prescribed by the law.”

The 2015 arson attack came amid a wave of vigilante attacks on West Bank Palestinians by suspected Jewish extremists. The deadly firebombing in Duma touched a particularly sensitive nerve, drawing condemnation from across Israel’s political spectrum.

But critics said that lesser attacks on mosques or churches had long gone unpunished, and Palestinians complained of a double standard as the Israeli police investigation dragged on.

The convicted man’s wife, Orian Ben-Uliel, told reporters outside the courtroom following the sentencing that “the judges didn’t seek justice or truth. They decided to incriminate my husband at any price,” and that the family would appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

Photo: A mourner reacts next to the body of 18-month-old Palestinian baby Ali Dawabsheh, who was killed after his family’s house was set to fire in a suspected attack by Jewish extremists in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, in this July 31, 2015 file picture. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/Files

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