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2 Israelis Sentenced for Murdering Palestinian Teen

  • Robert Berger

Suha Abu Khdeir, center, mother of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian murdered in 2014, speaks to reporters at a court during the sentencing of two Israelis accused of his murder, in Jerusalem, Feb. 4, 2016.

Suha Abu Khdeir, center, mother of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian murdered in 2014, speaks to reporters at a court during the sentencing of two Israelis accused of his murder, in Jerusalem, Feb. 4, 2016.

A high-profile court case involving events that led to the Gaza war in 2014 has concluded in Israel; but not without controversy.

A Jerusalem court sentenced two Israeli teenagers to long prison terms for murdering a Palestinian youth, an incident that Israeli officials described as "Jewish terrorism."

One Israeli got life in prison and the other 21 years, while a third suspect is still awaiting a verdict pending psychological examinations.

The assailants burned 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir alive in Jerusalem in July 2014; it was revenge for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens by gunmen from the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Six days later, war erupted between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and lasted for 50 days.

Relatives of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was killed in 2014, hold posters bearing his portrait outside the Jerusalem district court during a hearing on Feb. 4, 2016.

Relatives of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was killed in 2014, hold posters bearing his portrait outside the Jerusalem district court during a hearing on Feb. 4, 2016.

The slain Palestinian teenager’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, said the 21-year sentence is too soft and both suspects should spend the rest of their lives in prison. He pointed to a double standard.“I want the same law for Arabs as for Jews,” he told reporters.

Abu Khdeir said a Palestinian who kills an Israeli would be sentenced to life in prison and his family home would be destroyed. Yet Israel, he said, is not demolishing the homes of the Jewish assailants.

Israeli State Prosecutor Ori Korb sees things differently.

Korb said the punishment is fitting for a “barbaric” act of “moral depravity.” He said the message is that in the State of Israel, such “shocking” crimes will not be tolerated.

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