U.S. State Dept. notes ‘due process’ in case of Abu Khdeir killers

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration said due process was carried out in the case against three Israelis accused of burning to death a Palestinian teenager.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner, at a briefing Wednesday with reporters, resisted entreaties from a reporter to criticize an Israeli court for agreeing at the last minute to consider an insanity plea by one of the defendants, Yosef Haim Ben-David.

“There was a case brought against this individual,” Toner said. “Due process was carried out. We’ve talked about this before that we do believe in the democratic strength – or the strength of Israel’s democratic institutions, including its legal system.”

The Jerusalem District Court, in its Nov. 30 ruling, found guilty the two other Israelis involved in the 2014 kidnapping and killing of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, 16.

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Toner’s praise for Israel’s legal system was in contrast to the “disappointment” expressed by the State Department last month when a court sentenced to community service a police officer who had beaten Abu Khdeir’s American cousin, Tariq, during protests following the murder.

In the briefing Wednesday, Toner also called “counterproductive” Israel’s policy of destroying the homes of terrorists. Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished the home in the Jerusalem suburb of Shuafat of the terrorist who killed two people a year ago when he rammed his car into them.

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