Main defendant Ben David (L) was sued by Mohammed Abu Khdeir's parents
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg, Yedioth Ahronoth
The family of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive by three Jewish terrorists, is suing his murderers for NIS 5.5 million in damages.
The main defendant, Yosef Haim Ben David, was sentenced to a life term plus 20 years in prison, while another defendant, a minor at the time of the murder, got a life sentence, and a third defendant, also a minor, was sentenced to 21 years.
In February, the High Court of Justice rejected the appeals filed by the three defendants of their punishment. Now that the criminal proceedings against them have concluded, the Abu Khdeir family can file their civil lawsuit.
The lawsuit by the victim's family stated, "There is no doubt there is no adequate compensation for such a needless and outrageous loss of a young man's life.
"This was done with the respondents' malicious intent to harm the deceased. They displayed indifference and cynicism in the face of the most horrible outcome of all—the death of the deceased in suffering and agony. They also did not spare the parents of the deceased, who were left with nothing after the death of their son.
"Courts in Israel have recognized the possibility of obliging a damager to pay punitive remuneration. Such remuneration is meant to serve as both a tool of education and deterrence."
In the Supreme Court's decision from two months ago to reject the defendants' appeal, Justice Yitzhak Amit wrote, "The murder may be termed a strategic terror attack that ignited Jerusalem in general and east Jerusalem specifically."
"The murder necessitates a harsh reckoning in Israeli society regarding the handling of racism and its various expressions, self-examination from the bottom up to excise it from the state's body," he added.
Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed's father, welcomed the court's decision at the time, saying, "They burned not only Mohammed but an entire family. Their appeal to reduce their sentence drove me mad. Had they been given a lighter sentence, more such crimes would follow. I want Mohammed to be the last victim of such a crime."
"The murderers are like the Nazis who burned people," the father concluded.
The murder of Abu Khdeir in Shuafat in July 2014 ignited a wave of terrorism in Jerusalem. The young Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and then murdered by three Israelis after the funerals of Naftali Frenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach—whose own kidnapping and murder sparked an IDF operation to locate them in the same year.
A day before Abu Khdeir's kidnapping the three attempted to kidnap 7-year-old Musa Zalum while he was walking with his mother and two brothers in Beit Hanina. The three drove around from the Old City's Damascus Gate to Wadi al-Joz and Beit Hanina until finally settling on Shuafat.
They canvassed the neighborhood for about 20 minutes arguing amongst themselves on the question of who they should kidnap. "Let's kidnap a young man," one suggested. "A woman screams more than a man."
In the three's sentence by the Jerusalem District Court from two years ago, judges determined that the fact that the group's ringleader Ben David "worked on the first night to find a victim, and did so again on the second night, shows determination and a conscious, ideologically-motivated decision to exact revenge, rather than uncontrolled obsessiveness."