Jack Teitel is flanked by security officials before his trial at the Jerusalem District Court, on April 9, 2013
US-born Jewish settler Jack Teitel is flanked by two security officials before the start of his trial at the Jerusalem District Court, on April 9, 2013. Teitel was sentenced for life in prison for the killing of two Palestinians in 1997. © Ahmad Gharabli - AFP
Jack Teitel is flanked by security officials before his trial at the Jerusalem District Court, on April 9, 2013
AFP
Last updated: April 9, 2013

Israeli settler gets life for 1997 Palestinian murders

An Israeli court on Tuesday sentenced an extreme rightwing US-born Jewish settler to two life terms in prison for the murder of two Palestinians in 1997.

Jack Teitel, 40, was found guilty in January of murdering a bus driver and a shepherd, as well as of two separate attempted murders, illegal possession of weapons and incitement to violence.

The religious activist was handed two life sentences by the Jerusalem District Court, one for each of his victims, and will have to pay compensation of 180,000 shekels ($47,000/36,000 euros) to each of their families.

Teitel was also sentenced to 30 years for the two attempted murders and other offences.

"I have no regrets or sorrow," Teitel told journalists after the trial, saying he was "proud of being in the service of God."

Delivering sentence, Judge Yoed Cohen said: "The day after Holocaust Memorial Day -- which marks the deaths of millions of Jews at the hands of a racist, insane ideology -- one man, a Jew, must remember that you should never kill."

At the January hearing, the court ruled that Teitel was mentally competent when he carried out the offences, and rejected his lawyers' arguments that their client had not been mentally stable and was therefore not guilty.

The father-of-four from the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel has been branded by the Israeli press as a "Jewish terrorist."

He was arrested in 2009.

In January, he admitted carrying out a 2008 bomb attack on the home of leading leftwing Israeli professor Zeev Sternhell, wounding him.

Sternhell said on Israeli television of Teitel's sentencing: "The phenomenon of political violence is a daily occurrence in Israel, even if Teitel is its most extreme manifestation."

Teitel also admitted sending a parcel bomb to a Jewish couple who accept Jesus as the Messiah, wounding their 15-year-old son.

Teitel, who immigrated from the United States, is also known for his hatred of homosexuals, calling for the murder of "sodomites".

Settlers frequently clash with Palestinians in the West Bank but killings are rare. The most infamous incident was the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians by a radical American-born settler in a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron.

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