Appeal rejected for Israelis convicted of burning Palestinian teen to death

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Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, is seen in this undated family handout picture released July 6, 2014. (Reuters)
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Hussein Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian father of a teenager who was beaten and burned alive by three members of a Jewish gang in 2014. (AFP)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Appeal rejected for Israelis convicted of burning Palestinian teen to death

JERUSALEM: Israel’s supreme court on Thursday rejected an appeal by three members of a Jewish gang convicted of kidnapping, beating and burning alive a Palestinian teenager in 2014.
The decision upholds life sentences for two of them and a 21-year jail term for the third over the chilling attack that was part of a spiral of violence ahead of the 2014 Gaza war.
Israeli settler Yosef Haim Ben-David was convicted of leading the assault on Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, that shocked Israelis and Palestinians alike.
The two others have not been named since they were minors — 16 — at the time of the crime. Ben-David, whose claim of insanity was rejected, was 31 when he was sentenced to life in May 2016.
Abu Khdeir’s father welcomed the court’s decision, but again called for the assailants’ homes to be demolished as Israel routinely does for Palestinian attackers.
“These people are like Nazis,” Hussein Abu Khdeir told journalists outside the courtroom after the decision was announced.
Abu Khdeir’s killing was part of a spiral of violence that led to a 50-day war in the Gaza Strip in summer 2014.
He was kidnapped from Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on July 2, 2014 and beaten, with his burned body found hours later in a forest in the western part of the city.
A forensic report showed smoke in his lungs, indicating he was alive when set alight.
It was seen as revenge for the killing of Israelis Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach, who were abducted from a hitchhiking stop near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.
Israeli authorities said the suspects had decided to kill an Arab in revenge and equipped themselves with cable ties, petrol and other materials before randomly choosing Abu Khdeir.


UN, Palestinians launch humanitarian appeal after funding cuts

Updated 17 December 2018
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UN, Palestinians launch humanitarian appeal after funding cuts

  • The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan outlined 203 projects to be carried out by 88 different groups
  • The plan prioritized 1.4 million Palestinians most in need of food, health care, shelter, water and sanitation

JERUSALEM: The United Nations and the Palestinian Authority on Monday appealed for $350 million in humanitarian relief for Palestinians next year, saying that they needed more but had to be realistic in the face of “record-low” funding.
The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan outlined 203 projects to be carried out by 88 different groups, including UN agencies and non-governmental organizations.
The plan prioritized 1.4 million Palestinians most in need of food, health care, shelter, water and sanitation, said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“Humanitarian actors are facing unprecedented challenges, including record-low funding and a rise in attacks to delegitimize humanitarian action,” he said in a joint statement issued on Monday, ahead of the appeal’s launch in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Although “much more assistance is needed,” McGoldrick said, the plan was “reflecting what we can realistically accomplish in this highly constrained context.”
Over the past year, the United States has slashed its funding to the Palestinians, including to the UN agency that provides services to 5 million Palestinian refugees.
The United States promised $365 million to the agency in 2018, but paid only a first instalment of $60 million before announcing in August that it would halt all future donations.
The move was widely seen as a means of pressuring the Palestinian leadership to enter peace negotiations with Israel.
The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem — territories that Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.
US-brokered peace talks between the sides collapsed in 2014 and a bid by US President Donald Trump to restart them has so far showed little progress.
Around 77 percent of the funds sought in the 2019 plan would go to Gaza, the appeal organizers said, because the densely populated coastal strip faced a “dire humanitarian situation” after years of an Israeli-led blockade, internal Palestinian political divisions and casualties from demonstrations and recurring hostilities.
“The humanitarian context in the oPt (Occupied Palestinian Territories) is still deteriorating due to the Israeli occupation violations in a time of lack of resources and declining funds because of the politicization of the humanitarian aid,” Palestinian Social Development Minister Ibrahim Al-Shaer said in the statement.