Ali Dawabsha

Photo of Ali Dawabsha held at a rally. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

Israelis across the political spectrum are horrified by a murderous arson attack that claimed the life of an Arab baby. Netanyahu vows to bring the criminals to justice.

An 18-month-old toddler, Ali Dawabsha, was killed Friday morning and his parents and four-year-old brother were seriously injured when their house in the Palestinian village of Duma, south of the city of Shechem (Nablus), was set on fire by Molotov cocktails.

An adjacent unoccupied house was also torched, and graffiti in Hebrew was sprayed on the walls of a third house in the village.

Medics transported the wounded victims by helicopter toTel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv and Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, where they are being treated.

Israel considers the attack to be an act of terrorism and is working on the assumption that it was carried out by nationalist extremists, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The IDF, Israel Police and additional security forces have launched an intensive and extensive investigation to locate the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

“This attack against civilians is nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism,” stated IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner. “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.”

So far, no suspects have been arrested, and although it is assumed that Jewish terrorists carried out the attack, it is not clear that this is the case.

Rivlin Expresses ‘Disgust and Deep Shock’

The horrific incident shocked the Israeli public; public figures from across the political spectrum quickly and unequivocally slammed the attack. Government and opposition leaders as well as rabbis and community leaders in Judea and Samaria issued public statements of condemnation.

President Reuven Rivlin, who visited the victims at the hospital on Friday, expressed his “disgust and deep shock” and called for unity to combat terror. “This is a time to join together,” he stated. He also called on all sides to refrain from further violence. “Taking the law into one’s own hands and submitting to acts of violence is to award a prize to the terrorists. We are faced with a determined and dangerous, ideological group, which aims to destroy the fragile bridges which we work so tirelessly to build.”

Rivlin Duma attack

President Rivlin visits the Dawabsha family in Tel Hashomer Hospital. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

The president issued a special message to the Arab community, saying that the incident “cuts at the heart of all of us. I feel a sense of shame, and moreover a sense of pain. Pain over the murder of a small baby. Pain that from my people, there are those who have chosen the path of terrorism and have lost their humanity. Their path is not my path. Their path is not our path. Their path is not the path of the State of Israel, or of the Jewish people.”

He vowed to “confront” and “uproot” the phenomenon of Israeli terrorism, calling on the Israeli leadership to join him “to confront violence and racism” and to show “respect for our fellow man as created in God’s image.”

“At these painful moments, I turn to the Arab citizens of Israel and the Palestinian people, to all law abiding citizens, and ask that you do not succumb to the shock and anger. This is a time to join together. Despite the pain and the sorrow, we must continue to believe in our ability to build bridges of coexistence, or a shared existence. We must not let terror win.”

“We have returned to our homeland, and from a position of sovereignty we must maintain law and order and prevent all forms of inexplicable horrors in the name of any kind of religious conviction, from any side. Enough! The Government, the State, and the citizens of Israel must say – we will have no part in this. We cannot tolerate terrorism. It cannot be allowed that in the name of one or another ideology, churches, synagogues, mosques, or people are burned. It is utterly shameful,” Rivlin concluded.

Netanyahu Vows to Bring Criminals to Justice

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also voiced dismay. “I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act. This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are. I have ordered the security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith. The Government of Israel is united in its strong opposition to such deplorable and awful acts. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to share in the sorrow of the family of Ali Dawabsha and wish a quick recovery to the family members who were injured.”


PM Netanyahu after visiting the victims. (Flash90)

Netanyahu also visited the hospitalized victims at the Tel Aviv hospital. “We’re doing everything we can to save this young boy, give him a life. His two parents are in other parts of the Israeli health system. We’re trying to give them the best treatment to save their lives,” he said.

“We condemn this. There is zero tolerance for terrorism wherever it comes from, whatever side of the fence it comes from. We have to fight it and fight it together.”

Before visiting the victims, Netanyahu spoke with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, saying that all of Israel was horrified by the reprehensible terrorism against the Dawabsha family. “We must fight terrorism together regardless of which side it comes from,” he told Abbas, adding that he had ordered the security forces to use all measures to locate the murderers.

According to a statement issued by the PMO, Netanyahu told Abbas, “We have to calm the spirits and recommit ourselves to our joint battle against terrorism and extremism. It’s something that all parts of the Israeli government and all parts of Israeli society agree on. It’s important that we make a common cause with our Palestinian neighbors to give ourselves a better future – a future free of violence, free of terror, a future of peace.”

Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, which supports Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, also voiced outrage at the attack, which, he said, was not merely a “hate crime” or a “price tag,” but simply ‘murder.” “Terror is terror is terror,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Setting fire to the house in the village of Duma and infanticide is a shocking act of terrorism that is completely unacceptable. I call on the security forces to act with determination to reach the murderers and punish them to the full extent of the law.”

Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon instructed the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) to step up action against Jewish terror activity.

Response to Terror – Israeli vs. Palestinian Society

Thousands of people joined the Israeli political leaders at rallies in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa on Saturday evening to condemn violence, including the Duma attack. Ali’s uncle addressed the event in Tel Aviv.

Kay Wilson, a British-born Israeli tour guide, jazz musician and cartoonist, is the survivor of a brutal Palestinian terror attack that occurred in December 2010 in central Israel. Referring to the Saturday evening rallies, she wrote on her Facebook page: “It’s really special, right and important that the relatives of the murdered Palestinian baby were given a chance to speak and express their grief at a ceremony in Tel Aviv. I wish that I, too, had been invited to do the same at Ramallah (the capital of the PA) to honor my murdered Christian friend (butchered because they thought she was Jewish) and speak in front of 1000’s of Palestinians who also abhor terrorism.”

As recorded by Palestinian Media Watch and other watchdogs, the Palestinian leadership in the PA-administered territories often incites to violence, glorifies terrorists and teaches hatred for Jews and Israelis on TV programs and in educational materials.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel