An Israeli lawyer has been given the chance to address a judge over the death of a Palestinian man who was allegedly beaten and then set alight by Israelis, sparking outrage in the West Bank and abroad.
The attorney, Ofer Vardi, told the Jerusalem court on Monday that he was being given an opportunity to respond to the charge that he failed to properly investigate the death.
Vardi told the court that he had investigated the incident, but did not find the murder to be murder.
His comments came as Israel’s justice minister and the head of the Israel Police said that the death was politically motivated.
“This is not a case of someone who was killed in a terrorist act.
It is a case where a person was killed by an Israeli in the presence of other people,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said.
“And the reason for this is that it was politically-motivated.”
She said that there was no reason to suspect that the Palestinian man had been killed by Israeli settlers, who had attacked his home with stones, firebombs and rubber-coated steel bullets.
Vardis attorney, Yaron Dror, also took the opportunity to say that he believed that Vardi had “failed to investigate the case properly.”
But the judge, Gilad Erdan, said he was not interested in hearing any more arguments.
The death of Nasser Khoury, a 50-year-old resident of East Jerusalem, sparked anger in the Palestinian community, who have long accused Israel of deliberately targeting Palestinians.
Israel has blamed Palestinians for the attack, saying it was carried out by a lone Palestinian assailant.
Israel’s military says it has arrested six people in connection with the attack and that the killing was a “terrorist attack” in which no Israelis were killed.
But Vardi said the investigation did not prove that Khourys death was caused by a terrorist attack.
The Palestinian death came just days after another Israeli man was killed.
A Palestinian man was shot and killed by police in a West Bank village after allegedly stabbing a man with a knife in Jerusalem.
Police say the stabbing was a result of a dispute between the two men.
The man was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene.