Israel court convicts seven over wedding video celebrating arson
Israeli wedding-goers in 2015 celebrated an arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents.
An Israeli court convicted seven Jewish men of inciting violence and terror and a slew of other charges for their involvement in a 2015 wedding in which participants celebrated an arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday found the seven guilty of a raft of offences after “glorifying with dance and song the murder of the Dawabsheh family” in a firebombing attack in the occupied West Bank by illegal Jewish settlers in July 2015.
Another man, the singer at the wedding, was found not guilty and was acquitted.
The incitement charges carry a maximum five-year jail term.
A sentencing hearing was scheduled for November, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.
The attack on the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank killed 18-month-old Ali and his parents Riham and Saad and drew an outcry from both Palestinians and Israelis.
Months after the attack, a video from a wedding that aired on Israeli television appeared to show guests brandishing rifles and dancing to music with lyrics calling for revenge, while some stabbed photos of Ali Dawabsheh.
Wedding songs contained lyrics such as “the mosque will burn” and “the mosque will explode”.
The court found the men guilty on charges that included incitement to violence or terror, according to the Justice Ministry.
One was found guilty of incitement to racism, supporting a “terrorist” group, and illegal possession of a weapon, while another was found guilty of a weapons charge, according to Haaretz.
“I found that the inciting nature of the incident was apparent to all, clear, incontrovertible,” the judge said.
One of those convicted on Wednesday, Dov Morell, said on Twitter: “My deeds do not represent who I am today, and I regret them.”
But he added: “I don’t think this constitutes a felony and it looks like I will appeal the conviction.”
There was no immediate comment from the other defendants.
About 700,000 Israeli Jews live in more than 200 illegal settlements across the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, often under the protection of armed Israeli soldiers.
Some also live in dozens of unauthorised outposts scattered across the Palestinian territories – also illegal under Israeli law.
Settler attacks on Palestinians and their property, with the protection and support of the Israeli military, are rampant and a regular occurrence across the West Bank.
Palestinian leaders want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the beseiged Gaza Strip – territories Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war.
The Palestinians, who have limited self-rule in the West Bank, say Israel’s settlements deny them a viable state.
The settlements are illegal under international law.
Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem has continued under every Israeli government since 1967.