One of the minors who murdered 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014 was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, while another, believed to have had a lesser role in the crime, was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment. The two, both 16 years old now, also received a NIS 30,000 fine each.
The State Attorney and the Abu Khdeir family demanded they both be given life, but their attorneys claimed that they were influenced by the main perpetrator, Yosef Ben David. The court determined that Ben David committed the crime, but his conviction is pending a psychiatric evaluation.
When the sentencing was read out in court, Abu Khdeir's mother started shouting that "the court has failed."
Hussein Abu Khdeir, the murdered teenager's father, said the family intends to appeal the more lenient punishment given to the teenager who only got 21 years in prison.
"We don't accept the sentencing of one of the teenagers," the victim's father said. "We will go to the Supreme Court. We haven't slept since yesterday, waiting for the verdict. Where's the main perpetrator? What's going on with him? He's responsible for it."
He also said the family demanded the homes of the killers be demolished. "Less than this won't be enough. When a 14 year old murders a Jew, he's given life in prison, but if there's no apartheid and racism, he needs to both get life and have his home demolished," Hussein Abu Khdeir added.
The State Attorney said that "the verdict expresses the severity of the offenses the minors committed - the murder of an innocent teenager around their own age, whose life was cruelly cut short, and the attempted abduction of another child. The heinous murder was done of ideological motives. Abu Khdeir was murdered solely because he was an Arab."
"The sentence imposed on the defendants reflects what we asked for and the barbaric and atrocious act," said Uri Korev, the state prosecutor. He said the murder marked a "moral nadir."
Attorney Avi Himi, who represents the minor sentenced to 21 years, said the murder conviction was "legally wrong and not free of doubts, in my opinion," and noted he intends to appeal the sentence.
"My client's head is down, and he understands the serious and horrendous incident should have never happened. He can't contain his regret, and the remorse he expresses is genuine."
The two minors were 14 when they snatched Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir from an East Jerusalem neighborhood in July 2014, driving him to a Jerusalem forest where he was burned to death. The murder was carried out in revenge for the abduction and killing earlier that summer of three Israeli teens by Palestinians said by Israel to have been Hamas operatives.
In response to the abduction, Israel rounded up Hamas members in the West Bank, sparking a barrage of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Days after the Abu Khdeir murder, Israel began airstrikes in Gaza in an attempt to quell the rockets, resulting in a 50-day war.
One of the teenagers is also accused with the attempted kidnapping of Moussa Zalum, seven years old at the time, from Beit Hanina, and the State Attorney has asked that an additional imprisonment sentence on top of the life sentence.
Two months ago, the court determined that the teenagers did commit the crimes attributed to them.