The parents of a Palestinian teenager burned alive by Israelis in the lead-up to the 2014 war on Gaza have denounced an Israeli court for not giving two offenders life sentences.
The court on Thursday announced that one Israeli has been sentenced to life in prison, while another was given 21 years in prison for the abduction and subsequent murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in East Jerusalem.
It is estimated that the pair will spend less than 20 years in prison, after parole and possible sentence reductions are taken into account.
Suha Abu Khdeir said the court should have given both Israelis life sentences for their roles in the death of her son.
“They should get life sentences. Both of them. I don’t agree with this decision. There is no democracy in Israel,” she cried in the court room.
“They kidnapped and burned my son and they only get 21 years. I will not move from the court until there is justice. I will go to the international courts. I will not be quiet.”
The two Israelis were minors when they committed the crime with the help of a third Israeli man.
Abu Khdeir was kidnapped in East Jerusalem and taken to a forest outside the city. He was tortured and burned alive.
The claim for the Israeli who was sentenced to 21 years is that he did not participate in the actual killing, after the abduction and torture took place.
A third Israeli man convicted of Abu Khdeir’s killing, Yosef Haim Ben David, has yet to be sentenced, with the court yet to rule whether he is mentally competent.
Muhannad Jbara, the lawyer for the Abu Khdeir family, echoed the mother’s promise to take the case to the international courts: “We asked for the most severe sentences, for life sentences. This is only the first battle to get justice. We will head to international courts as well.”
Meanwhile, the father of the victim pointed to the discrepancies in how the Israeli government punishes whole Palestinian families for the crimes of lone suspects.
“I ask the courts to demolish their homes,” he said. “We won’t accept anything less than that. If you have democracy, then where is it? If there wasn’t racism then we would get the same thing as an Arab would, to demolish their homes.
“My son hasn’t died. He will stay with me always. They didn’t give me justice: I, who lost my son and my whole life,” Suha said in the court room.