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Israeli settlers kill Palestinian toddler in arson attack

July 31, 2015 7:39 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2015 8:28 P.M.)
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, 4, 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.

Joe Fattal / USA
The story is been on CNN early this evening. They said it was a deplorable act by Jewish Right-Wing extemists groups. Yet Netanyahu said that it was an act of terrorism by the same group that he enlisted to help forming his government. We will see more act of violence from the same group.
31/07/2015 10:22
Brian Cohen / Israel
A horrible crime and the perpetrators must be caught, tried and face the full force of the law. Note the condemnations from Israeli leaders. Note that when Palestinians kill Israeli babies, Hamas and IJ hand out candies and praise the killers.
31/07/2015 10:24
Esmail Jobran / Palestine
Cohen, even your words of compassion and support are tainted with anger and hatred!
31/07/2015 11:26
Hetty / the Netherlands
@Cohen: you know very well all they get will be house arrest. Not being hunted, shot in the "lower extrimities' which means for Palestinians head or heart, house bulldozed etc. You don't care about this baby.Your government stimulate all this, soldiers stand by often and do nothing.
31/07/2015 11:43
Adam Neira / France
Prayers for Ali Saad Dawabsha and the other four members of the family from the village of Duma. The perpetrators of this crime must be found and punished. All acts of violence in the Holy Land must be condemned.
31/07/2015 12:37
Haim / France
I don't care Brian Cohen if Palestinians hand out candies and praise the killers when Arab terrorists kill Israeli babies. We as Jews have the obligation to respect human beings and this crime is horrible ! Hope that we will find those extremists asap and put them on trial and jail...
31/07/2015 12:54
Donald / Scotland
What's this, international hate the Cohanim week. Give some respect for Brian's comment.
31/07/2015 16:01
Nena / United States
It is sad that baby has to die because of stupidity.
31/07/2015 18:02
Lama / USA
It is time for the international community and the US Security Council to declare all Israeli settlers as terrorists. The Israeli government which includes Israeli settlers leaders must be held accountable since they arm, finance and give those settlers the green light to terrorize.
31/07/2015 19:22
Sulaiman Baadshah / Bangladesh
Only settlement halting of Israel may not result a continuous solution. These duo together with other Middle East countries should engage in mult-development venture. Israel requires friendly neighbors for a sustainable peace and security in his country. Its a foolish idea to have peace.
31/07/2015 20:10
Gideon Gitai / Finland
The extreme-right-wing g'ment finances Jewish Terrorists with its citizens' tax money, and sends the "most moral Army in the World" to protect the criminals.
31/07/2015 20:38
Dafydd / Wales
Shocked and saddened by this horrendous act of terrorism on an innocent family. Sincere condolences to the family, thoughts and prayers are with you and with Palestine in your time of grief and sadness.
01/08/2015 01:45
hannah / usa 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 HumaniI
02/08/2015 07:00
Boo Radley / United States
Look at how the NY Times twisted the use of 'vigilante' in covering this story.
04/08/2015 08:37
Brian Cohen / Israel
My bottom line is still this: we need peace and two states and polls consistently show the vast majority of us Israelis support this. I want the perpetrators of this crime locked up for life, just like the Palestinians who kill Israeli civilians. All murderers must serve out their full sentences.
05/08/2015 11:52
ian / australia (1)
Interesting. Brian is morally outraged by the awful event but completely silent about the underlying cause. He gets in a cheap shot about Hamas and candies demonstrating Israel's moral superiority but fails to mention the vicious (collective) revenge Israel would exact if the child was Jewish
05/08/2015 22:57
ian / australia (2)
(contd.) (demolition of family homes etc.) He wants the killers to be "caught, tried" and to "face the full force of the law" which is clearly his little joke given the impunity with which settlers attack Palestinians. He's not demanding that vicious criminals are punished for despicable crimes,
05/08/2015 22:58
ian / australia (3)
(contd.) just that these settlers, if they can be identified, are dealt with under ISRAELI law which even at "full force" is notoriously reluctant to pursue or prosecute. Basically, he's saying, if the attackers, hiding back in their settlements, get away with it, that would be cool too.
05/08/2015 22:59
ian / australia (1)
Then there's Haim from France, in a truly revolting post, backing up Brian's slur about Palestinians as callous, candy-munching baby-killer condoners while getting all sanctimonious about the SPECIAL "obligation" of Jews "to respect human beings" as though no-one else in the world does. The child
05/08/2015 23:00
ian / australia (2)
(contd.) in question, I'd remind you, Haim, was Palestinian, as are the VAST majority of infants who have met violent deaths in occupied (and blockaded) Palestine and that it's the ol' Light unto the Nations, the Nation State of the people with the special "obligation", that killed them.
05/08/2015 23:01
ian / australia (1)
Brian, your "bottom line" may be peace and "two states" but the version "the vast majority" of Israelis support is the one where East Jerusalem, inc. the Haram, ALL major settlements and the Jordan Valley end up in Israel. The one where Palestinians get screwed out of every inch of their home that
06/08/2015 03:31
ian / australia (2)
(contd.) Israel can get away with. Is that your "bottom line"? Your version of "peace"? Demanding demented killers serve "full sentences", whoever they are, is hardly remarkable but I'd remind you Israel killed 500 children in Gaza last year. When should THEIR murderers start serving theirs?
06/08/2015 03:33
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