Parents of murdered Palestinian teen seek damages from Jewish killers

Relatives of Muhammad Abu Khdeir submit civil lawsuit for NIS 5.5 million over brutal 2014 slaying

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir seen with Arab-Israeli parliament member Saadia Osama (R) as they arrive at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, on February 7, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir seen with Arab-Israeli parliament member Saadia Osama (R) as they arrive at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, on February 7, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The family of a Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and brutally murdered by three Jewish extremists in 2014 filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday claiming millions of shekels in damages from the culprits.

The parents of victim Muhammad Abu Khdeir demanded NIS 5.5 million ($1.54 million) from the three assailants — ringleader Yosef Haim Ben-David and his two nephews, who have not been named because they were minors at the time of the killing.

Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted and killed in East Jerusalem on July 1, 2014. An autopsy found that he had had been beaten and then burned alive in a forest in  Jerusalem.

“There is no doubt that there is no fair compensation for the simply outrageous loss of a young man’s life,” read the civil lawsuit, which was filed at the Jerusalem District Court. “And all this, while the defendants intended to deliberately harm the deceased and behaved with indifference and cynicism to the most terrible outcome — the deceased’s death under terrible suffering, and have no pity for the parents of the deceased who remained destitute after the death of their son.”

Muhammad Abu Khdeir, seen in a photo provided by his family. (Courtesy)

Ben-David and one of the other attackers are serving life sentences while the third is serving a 21-year jail term over the chilling attack, which was part of a spiral of violence ahead of the 2014 Gaza war, known by Israelis as Operation Protective Edge.

The lawsuit includes expenses for the loss of earning capacity by the death of Abu Khdeir, the expenses of his funeral, and compensation for the shortening of his life as well as for the pain and suffering caused to his family, the Haaretz daily reported.

Attorney Mohanad Jabarah, acting on behalf of Hussein and Suha Abu Khdeir, said, “The aim is not to make money but to add to their punishment. Even when they are released, they will know that they still need to pay the family they so badly harmed.”

In February, the Supreme Court rejected appeals by the three attackers, upholding their convictions and prison sentences and saying they had “emerged from a dark tunnel of racism, ignorance and hate.”

Prison guards escort Yosef Haim Ben-David as he arrvies at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem for an appeal hearing, February 8, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Jerusalem District Court sentenced the three in 2016. One of the minors, who had been aged 17 at the time of the attack, was convicted of actively helping Ben-David in the kidnapping and murder. He was sentenced to life for helping to pour gasoline on the teen before he was set alight.

The second, who had been 16, was found guilty of helping the 17-year-old and Ben-David kill the boy.

They said they had killed Abu Khdeir as revenge over the killing the previous month of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas terrorists in the West Bank, an episode that was one of the main catalysts of the war that summer between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

On Sunday, the Israel Prisons Service said that Ben-David had begun a hunger strike, demanding a reduction of his sentence, an improvement in the conditions of security prisoners and an improvement in the conditions of religious prisoners.

AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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