Israel court finds two guilty over Palestinian’s murder

Court to consider insanity plea for third suspect on trial for burning death of 16-year-old Abu Khdeir in 2014.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir
Family members of Abu Khdeir held posters with his portrait outside the Jerusalem court [Oded Balilty/AP)

An Israeli court has found two Israeli teenagers guilty in the murder case of a 16-year-old Palestinian who was abducted, beaten and burned alive last year.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted outside his home in Shuafat in East Jerusalem and driven to a forest, where he was burned alive on July 2, 2014.

A third Israeli – considered the main suspect in the case – was found responsible by a Jerusalem district court on Monday, but his verdict was delayed after his lawyers submitted an insanity plea.

The court is expected to consider the plea on December 20. Sentences in the trial are expected on January 13.


The two minors found guilty say they were involved only in the abduction of Abu Khdeir, not the killing.

Abu Khdeir’s killing led to the worst riots in Jerusalem in a decade, spreading to Palestinian cities in Israel and the West Bank.

Nightly clashes between Palestinian residents and Israeli police continued for weeks.

RELATED: Trial of Abu Khdeir killers ‘a sham’, says family

Just days after the murder, the war on Gaza began.

It caused the deaths of more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, while Israel counted 73 dead on its side, mostly soldiers.

Israelis buy more guns as violence escalates

The three suspects, a 30-year-old ultra-Orthodox man and two minors, were arrested a few days after the murder and confessed to Israel’s Shin Bet security services, saying their acts were in retaliation for the murder of three teenage settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The lawyer of Abu Khdeir’s family questioned why the insanity plea was filed only at the last minute, as the trial has been going on for more than a year. 

“The lawyers of the suspect have delayed his final verdict. We see this as manipulation,” Muhanned Jbarah told Al Jazeera. “The suspect cannot get away with this crime, which he re-enacted in detail for the police. We don’t believe he’s insane. This crime was planned meticulously.”

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from East Jerusalem, said there was a lot of anger among Palestinians over how the court had handled the case.

“Palestinians have little trust in the Israeli justice system. They believe Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians are hardly ever held to account,” she said.

Abu Khdeir’s father, Hussein, described the trial as “shocking”, and vowed to bring the case to the International Criminal Court.

Source: Al Jazeera