Israelis launch campaign to free killer responsible for deadly arson attack

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  September 21, 2023

More than 6,000 Israelis have donated to a campaign to free a prisoner convicted of killing three Palestinians in an arson attack.

Thousands of Israelis have launched a campaign to raise money to free an Israeli who is in jail for killing three members of a Palestinian family. 

Amiram Ben Uliel was convicted of the murder of three people in 2020, when he carried out an arson attack in 2015 on the Dawabsheh family home in the occupied West Bank. 

Those fundraising for the campaign include far-right individuals, members of the Knesset, members of the ultra-nationalist Lehava group and rabbis. So far, the campaign has raised over 1.2 million NIS ($300,000), with more donations still pouring in. 

The fundraising campaign is due to end on Thursday evening, and has set a target to reach 1.6 million NIS ($418,641).

Lawmakers have also called for a reduction in the killer’s incarceration.

Limor Son Har-Melech, a member of the Israeli Knesset, appealed to the Shin Bet security chief last week, calling for conditions to be eased. 

According to her, Ben Uliel is being held “under the most difficult incarceration conditions in the State of Israel”.

Petrol bomb and arson attack 

The attack claimed the lives of Saad and Riham Dawabsheh and their 18-month-old baby, Ali.

Their eldest son, Ahmed, then four years old, was the sole survivor of the attack, suffering severe burns to more than 60 percent of his body that have reduced his mobility. 

The attack sparked international outrage, with the family accusing Israel of dragging its feet in prosecuting the suspects, despite admissions by Israeli officials that they knew who was responsible.

In 2018, the Dawabsheh family survived another arson attack after Israeli settlers hurled a petrol bomb at their home.

At the time, Yasser Abdel Fattah Dawabsheh told Anadolu Agency that settlers attacked his two-storey home in Duma at dawn, breaking a window and throwing a petrol bomb before running away.

“We were lucky that I was able to hear them when they attacked, so I was able to evacuate all my family out of the house,” he told Anadolu. “Fire crews reacted quickly and put out the fire before the whole house burnt down.”

But despite the quick reaction of emergency services, Anwar Dawabsheh, Yasser’s relative, told Middle East Eye that the family barely survived as they were unable to access the only way out of the house.

Since the attacks, residents of Duma, near the town of Nablus, have formed voluntary groups to guard their village from arson attacks by Jewish settlers.