Navigate to News section

Palestinian Infant Killed in West Bank Arson Attack; Israeli Settlers Suspected

Netanyahu condemns ‘act of terrorism’ that also badly burned both parents and their 4-year-old boy

Jas Chana
July 31, 2015
Oren Ziv/Getty Images
18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh is carried during his funeral in the in the Palestinian village of Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. Oren Ziv/Getty Images
Oren Ziv/Getty Images
18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh is carried during his funeral in the in the Palestinian village of Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. Oren Ziv/Getty Images

In the northern West Bank village of Douma, an 18-month-old Palestinian baby boy, burned to death on Friday morning inside his family home in a case of suspected arson carried out by Israeli settlers. According to Haaretz, in the early hours of this morning “two masked men” approached the village where they spray painted “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” in Hebrew at two homes, where they also broke windows and threw two firebombs inside.”

In the resulting blaze, two Palestinian homes were charred and gutted; one was empty at the time but the other contained a family, includuing a couple and their two children—a four-year-old boy named Ahmed, and a baby boy named Ali Saad Daobasa. The parents and Ahmed managed to escape the inferno, but they all sustained burns that covered 75% of their bodies, Al-Jazeera reported. Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Daobasa died.

Al-Jazeera reported that Nabil Abu Rdeineh, a spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the Israeli government is “fully responsible” for the baby’s horrific death as it continued to endorse and support illegal Israeli settlements.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced on his Twitter account: “I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act.” Another tweet continued: “This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of the perpetrators.” He also visited the four-year-old victim:

PM: I just came from the bedside of 4-year old Ahmed Sa’ed. 60% of his body is burned. We’re doing everything we can to save this young boy.

— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 31, 2015

A local resident named Ibrahim Dawabsha told Reuters that he was alerted to the fire when he heard voices shouting for help. “We found the parents outside with burns,” he said. “They said there was another son in the house. We brought [Ahmed] out and then they said there was another boy inside, but we couldn’t reach the bedroom because of the fire. He was left inside until rescue forces came,” Dawabsha said.

According to the BBC, Ali Saad Daobasa died at the scene while his parents and older brother were airlifted to a hosptial to be treated for their severe burns. +972 reported that the assailants were able to flee the scene without being identified because the homes they attacked were located close to the entrance of the village. However, because of the nature of the graffiti and the attack the perpetrators are believed to be extremist Israeli settlers committing a“price tag” attacks. As I reported last month in relation to a similar case of arson on a Christian church, a “price tag” attack is an:

act of vandalism or violence against the property and homes of non-Jews justified on the basis that the damage is the “cost” of Palestinian and Israeli government opposition to settler interests.

According to Al-Jazeera, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has requested that “the International Criminal Court probe the attack as one of the first Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.” And the Palestinian Liberation Authority said in a tweet that responsibility for the crime falls on the Israeli government for supporting settler interests in the Occupied Territories and the “decades of impunity” given to “settler terrorism.”

According to Ynet, the Infant Ali Daobasa’s “funeral took place in the early afternoon, and drew a crowd estimated to be 2,000 strong.” The publication also uploaded a video of the flame-ravaged homes.

Jas Chana is a former intern at Tablet.