Israeli suspect Yosef Haim Ben-David (R), charged along with two already convicted minors in the abduction and murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, sits in a Jerusalem courtroom on December 20, 2015
Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli prosecutors on Wednesday called for life sentences for two young Jews convicted of burning alive a Palestinian teen, part of an upsurge in violence ahead of the 2014 Gaza war.
The request was made at an emotional hearing in a Jerusalem court for the two, who were minors at the time of the chilling attack in which they and a third man snatched Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, from an east Jerusalem street and subsequently killed him.
Israeli settler Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, is said to have led the attack on Abu Khdeir but his lawyers say he suffers from a mental illness and was not responsible for his actions at the time.
The court has found that he committed the crime but is yet to rule if he is mentally competent.
The two others were 16 when they were charged in 2014 but are now adults. They cannot be identified by court order.
The prosecutor said the attacks came against the backdrop of ideological hatred and called for life sentences.
The court is due to hand down its sentence on February 4, with the ruling on Ben-David's sanity expected two days earlier.
-'You were the same age'-
Both of Abu Khdeir's parents took the stand in the hearing to call for severe sentences.
The two defendants bowed their heads when Abu Khdeir's mother began to speak. At one point she addressed the two teenagers, both of whom were wearing skullcaps.
"My son Mohammed was the same age as you. Why did you do this to him?" Suha Abu Khdeir asked through tears.
"I know my son won't come back but I want them to be punished to be a lesson and so this doesn't happen to any other mother."
His father Hussein, speaking in Arabic, told the three judges "we are living in a nightmare. I wake up in the night screaming."
He called on Israeli authorities to demolish the houses of the assailants' families as they regularly do with Palestinians convicted of attacks.
The court's actions are being closely watched at a time of renewed Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
A wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks targeting Israelis began in October.
Abu Khdeir's parents have previously expressed doubt that they would get justice.
The killing was part of a spiral of violence that led to a 50-day war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestinian militants in summer 2014.
Abu Khdeir was kidnapped from Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on July 2, 2014 and beaten, with his burned body found hours later in a forest in the western part of the city.
A forensic report showed smoke in his lungs, indicating he was alive when set alight.
It was seen as revenge for the abduction and later killing of Israelis Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach from a hitchhiking stop near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.
Israeli authorities said the suspects had decided to kill an Arab in revenge and equipped themselves with cable ties, petrol and other materials before randomly choosing Abu Khdeir.
They had allegedly tried to kidnap a child in east Jerusalem the day before, but were thwarted by the youth's mother.