Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 13:07 In July 2015, the Dawabsheh family’s house in Kfar Duma was burned down in an arson attack. The video series “Exposing the Duma Blood Libel”, produced by “Inouim B’Mishpat Duma”, presents the irregularities in the Kfar Duma case. (See here and here for reports from Honenu on the topic.) Part 4 of the series reveals that the reenactment of the crime by Amiram Ben Uliel after he confessed under extreme duress was rife with discrepancies and regulation violations. On Monday, May 18, the Central District Court in Lod will hand down a verdict in the trial of Ben Uliel.
Among the violations, during the reenactment, Ben Uliel was guided by officers and interrogators, among them the heads of the police and GSS teams in the investigation, who knew details of the investigation from close up. Additionally, Ben Uliel was not given a free hand in reenacting the crime and he did not recognize details from the crime scene, such as building foundations and graffiti.
The video describes how Ben Uliel was forced to repeat his confession and reenact the crime after the head of the GSS interrogation team, known as “Miguel”, threatened him: “I have the means and I know how to use them”. In the video, Ori Kirshenbaum, a member of Honenu’s staff who also works with “Inouim B’Mishpat Duma”, chose to focus on the regulation violations and the most glaring discrepancies in the reenactment.
According to police regulations, a reenactment must be led by an officer who is not a member of the team investigating the case and does not know the details of the investigation. This is to ensure that the reenactment will be free of all influences from anyone who could give clues to the defendant being investigated. From the video: “The defendant must lead everything from start to finish, but in the Duma case, apparently there are other rules.”
In the Duma arson reenactment, this regulation was violated twice. First, the officer who led the reenactment and walked hand in hand with Ben Uliel the entire time was Chief Superintendent Erez Amouyal, who was at the head of the Israeli Police investigation team in the Duma case. Amouyal was one of the first policemen to arrive on the scene after the arson and is naturally very well acquainted with all of the details of the investigation, particularly those from the scene of the crime.
The regulation was violated a second time by the presence of Miguel during the reenactment. Miguel was present during several of Ben Uliel’s interrogations, played the role of the “good cop”, and was very involved with investigation in the case. As far as Ben Uliel is concerned, one word from Miguel can bring him back to the interrogation room in which he was tortured. Kirshenbaum considers this to be the main problem, and noted that, “For some reason the GSS saw a need to place Miguel in close contact with Amiram during the reenactment.”
A video of the reenactment – excerpts are shown in Part 4 – begins with Ben Uliel sitting in a police Jeep on the way to Kfar Duma. Amouyal is sitting next to Ben Uliel and tries to get him to start talking. However Ben Uliel answers, “I have no idea where we are going.” At this point Miguel interrupts: “Like we discussed, Amiram. Where would you like to go? What we discussed. Nothing has changed.”
Kirshenbaum offers an explanation: “Miguel entered the picture in order to save the situation. Perhaps for that the GSS took care to include Miguel in the reenactment, in violation of regulations?”
In addition to the regulation violations, the reenactment itself raises many questions. Why did Ben Uliel not reenact the part in which he – supposedly – came to the cave designated as a meeting place, looked for the minor (the other main defendant in the case), waited for him, and then continued alone after he did not find the minor? Kirshenbaum has an explanation for this too: “That is an integral part of the indictment. Maybe someone is afraid that if Amiram arrives at the site and tries to demonstrate the confession he made in the interrogation room, everyone will understand that the story is a fabrication lacking in all logic? That there is no chance that he arrived at the cave and did not find the minor? That there is no chance that he could walk from there to Duma and return in such a short span of time?” See here for a description by Orian, Ben Uliel’s wife, of the alibi, which mentions distances between relevant sites, that was not investigated. The image above illustrates the distance between Yeshuv Hada’at, where the aforementioned cave is, and Kfar Duma.
Identifying the scene of the crime is a critical part of the reenactment, but Amouyal and Miguel prevented Ben Uliel from leading them to it. After the Jeep entered Kfar Duma, Ben Uliel asked to get out and lead them to the scene of the arson. “Could we walk?” he asked, and Amouyal answered him, “What’s that? Ahhh, we could, but right now we’d prefer not to. When we get closer.” Miguel added, “It’s [because of] the army.”
Amouyal and Miguel were not pleased with Ben Uliel’s “identification” of the crime scene and understood that he was “confused” and about to bring them to the wrong site, so they insisted on not letting him out of the Jeep until they were very close to the site of the arson.
Additionally, Ben Uliel did not recognize the construction foundations next to the house that was burned: “Could that possibly be new cement? I don’t know if it was there at all.” And when he saw the graffiti reading “Yehi HaMelech HaMashiah”, in Hebrew, he said that he did not remember the crown spray painted above it.
Part 4 of “Exposing the Duma Blood Libel” concluded with “This is how the fabricated reenactment from the ‘Duma Blood Libel Workshop’ looks.”
Ori Kirshenbaum, Honenu: “The time has come for the general public to be exposed to this material, so that everyone will understand that what is written in the bill of indictment against Amiram contradicts all of the findings and all of the testimonies regarding what occurred [in Kfar Duma]. And that the only evidence [Ben Uliel’s confessions under extreme duress] implicating him was depicted in the fabricated reenactment, which was conducted in a scandalous manner, in violation of all the regulations. In the Duma case, reality and facts have not interested anyone.”
“Exposing the Duma Blood Libel” – Part 1
“Exposing the Duma Blood Libel” – Part 2
“Exposing the Duma Blood Libel” – Part 3