Israeli settlers kill Palestinian toddler in arson attack

02:30 Jul 31 2015 Duma

A man stands next to graffiti reading in Hebrew "Revenge" as he looks at the damage after a house was set on fire by suspected Jewish settlers in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian toddler and injured four others early Friday morning after setting their home ablaze near Nablus in the occupied West Bank in what the Israeli leadership called an act of terrorism.

Israeli settlers smashed the windows of two homes in the Palestinian village of Duma before throwing flammable liquids and Molotov cocktails inside, a local resident told Ma'an.

Ali Saad Dawabsha, one-and-a-half years old, was trapped in the house and died shortly after sustaining serious burns, said Ghassan Daghlas, a local official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank.

His mother and father, Riham and Saad, and their son Ahmad, four, also sustained serious injuries and were evacuated by Israeli forces to hospital.

The mother was in critical condition with third-degree burns covering 90 percent of her body, an Israeli doctor told public radio, stressing that her life was threatened. The father had burns on 80 percent of his body.

The Israeli settlers from nearby settlements also attacked and partially burned the home belonging to Maamoon Rashid Dawabsha.

Local media reported that the graffiti said "revenge" and "long live the Messiah" and that the attackers threw firebombs inside the two homes, one of which was empty.

The homes were located near the main entrance to the village and the settlers were able to flee the scene quickly before residents identified them, Daghlas said.

Dozens of villagers from Duma rushed to help rescue the two families from their burning homes, witnesses said.The injured were later taken to Israeli hospitals for treatment via a military helicopter.

Musallem Dawabsha, 23, told Ma'an: "We saw four settlers running away keeping distance between each other. We tried to chase them but they fled to the nearby Maale Efrayim settlement."

The Israeli army confirmed the attack in a statement and said a search was underway for the suspects.

'Barbaric act'

Israeli army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner condemned the attack, saying: “This attack against civilians is nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism."

"A comprehensive investigation is underway in order to find the terrorists and bring them to justice. The IDF strongly condemns this deplorable attack and has heightened its efforts in the field to locate those responsible," Lerner added.

Meanwhile Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett -- a staunch supporter of settlement expansion in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank -- condemned the attack as "criminal" on his Twitter account, writing, "Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism."

In response to the arson attack, Israeli rights group B'Tselem said the infant's death was "only a matter of time."

"Official condemnations of this attack are empty rhetoric as long as politicians continue their policy of avoiding enforcement of the law on Israelis who harm Palestinians, and do not deal with the public climate and the incitement which serve as backdrop to these acts," the group said in a statement.

Under what B'Tselem has called an "undeclared policy of the Israeli authorities in response to these attacks as lenient and conciliatory," Israeli perpetrators of attacks are rarely tried and elementary police investigations are often never started.

"In light of this, the clock is ticking in the countdown to the next arson attack, and the one after," the group added.

Israeli settlers have carried out at least 120 attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Attacks by settlers are often carried out under the armed protection of Israeli forces who rarely make efforts to protect Palestinians from such attacks.

Over 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

Israel's meekness in the face of Jewish extremism carries a heavy price

The terrorists who murdered Palestinian infant Ali Saad Daobasa have exacerbated the situation in the territories to its most dangerous since the last Gaza war.

By Amos Harel for Haaretz| Jul. 31, 2015 | 5:35 PM

The Jewish terrorists who murdered Palestinian infant Ali Saad Daobasa before dawn on Friday morning have exacerbated the situation in the territories to its most dangerous point since the end of the Gaza war last summer. In coming days, the Israeli and Palestinian security forces will make a supreme effort to keep the lid on and prevent a spillover into extensive violence – like we saw in the West Bank last year after the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens, and the immolation of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Shoafat.

Murderous terror attacks on Jews, alongside fatal shootings of Palestinians by the Israel Defense Forces during demonstrations or attempts to detain suspects, have occurred throughout the past year, in both the West Bank and, mainly, Jerusalem. But the accumulation of events this past week – the violent confrontations surrounding the demolition of the Dreinoff buildings in Beit El; the indictment of two men for arson at the historic Church of the Multiplication on the shores of Lake Kinneret; the tensions on the Temple Mount during the observance of Tisha B’Av; the killing of three Palestinians by IDF gunfire within a week; the “Day of Rage” declared by Hamas in protest at those shootings – constitute a possible recipe for a larger conflagration.

The army understands this. That’s why four battalions have been sent to the West Bank and two more brigades have been confined to base, on alert. Those who were scalded once – like in the aftermath of Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000 – are more cautious even when the temperature in the cauldron is a bit lower. The army maintains that the Palestinian Authority leadership is against terror and isn’t interested in violent conflict. But in the immediate term, at least, the intention is to take every precaution.

Even though it’s a small group on the ideological margins of the settlement movement that is responsible for the murder of an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and the attempted murder of his family – as it was for previous terrorist attacks on mosques, churches and Palestinian homes – it’s impossible to be impressed by the condemnations and professions of shock that came from Israel’s leadership and settler heads on Friday morning.

The forgiveness the state has shown over many long years toward the violence of the extreme right – which was also evident this week at Beit El (none of those attacking the police are now in detention) – is also what makes possible the murderous hate crimes like Friday’s in the village of Douma. There is a price for the gentle hand.

Political struggle, including when it is waged against implementation of a court order, is part of the legitimate discourse. However, when the elected (and appallingly weak) settlement leadership tacitly accepts this rampage, while government ministers and Knesset members vie to show contempt toward the High Court of Justice, it’s hard to perceive the infant’s murder as a bolt from the blue – even if the clear majority of settlers are opposed to the deeds of the handful of Jewish terrorists.

It appears the murderers who set fire to the homes in Douma will ultimately be apprehended. The police unit that investigates nationalist crimes was established very late in the day, but has learned its job quickly – as proven most recently by the apprehension of the alleged church arsonists – after a long series of previous failures. The Jewish unit in the Shin Bet security service is also now devoting more resources to dealing with Jewish terror than it had until a few years ago.

However, the war on the Jewish terrorists cannot be confined to security-services measures. This is a long chain, which should begin by shaking off those rabbis and politicians on the far right, and culminate in a strong hand at the courts, which tend to show disproportionate consideration to the personal circumstances of Jewish fanatics.

Due to the authorities’ softness, those who used to be dismissively called “price-tag offenders” have developed into a real terror organization. The arsonists at the Galilee church appear to be a separate branch of the group that focuses on attacks on Christian religious sites. Their indictment included a startling document that the police confiscated from one of the accused: a detailed “How to” guide for the rookie terrorist – from strict operational security instructions to recommendations for escalating levels of terrorism, including bodily harm. We shouldn’t let the spelling mistakes and substandard language in it lead us astray. There is a determined hard-core developing here, one that is unimpressed by ministerial condemnations or the efforts by the Shin Bet and police to track them down.

These people want to ignite a religious war, which is not much different from what the jihadists on the Palestinian side have in mind. If the authorities don’t take action against them in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, and if the security coordination with the Palestinians that the IDF praises so highly isn’t maintained, they’re liable to achieve their aim.

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Right-wing Jewish extremist settlers near Nablus firebombed a Palestinian home on Thursday night, starting a fire which destroyed the house and burned a baby to death, as well as severely burning the baby's four-year-old brother, mother and father.

The baby who was killed in the attack was about 18 months old. He was identified as Ali Saad Dawabsha.

The attack took place at about 2:30 in the morning, in the village of Douma, in the northern part of the West Bank near the city of Nablus.

The Israeli fanatics arrived in the dead of night in the village, and began by spray-painting hate slogans against Palestinians on the Dawabsha family home. They then broke a window and threw a firebomb inside, setting off the fire that killed the baby.

The graffiti, written in Hebrew, included the phrase 'price tag', which is a slogan used by right-wing Israeli extremists against Palestinians - the reference being that continued Palestinian existence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank would exact a price from the Israeli colonizers.

Although the Israeli military spokesperson issued a 'tweet' on his Twitter account that this was a "barbarous act of terrorism," the army has not issued an official statement, and the perpetrators have not been found.

The Father Sa’ad Dawabsha, the mother Reham, 37, and their child Ahmad, four years of age, have been seriously injured in the attack.

Sa’ad’s home was completely burnt, while the home of Ma’moun Rashid Dawabsha was partially burnt.

Resident Musallam Dawabsha, 23, told the Maan News Agency that his family saw four Israeli fanatics running away towards the Ma'ale Efrayim illegal Israeli colony, built on stolen Palestinian lands near the village.

He added that a young woman, who lives near the Dawabsha home, saw the extremists hurling the firebombs into the home before fleeing the scene.

Palestinian and international human rights groups have documented on multiple occasions the relative impunity of Israeli settlers who attack Palestinian civilians. Very rarely do the cases result in an arrest, and prosecution of the perpetrator is even more rare.
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