+972 Magazine http://972mag.com Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine Sun, 02 Aug 2015 16:16:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8 No way to defeat Jewish terrorism without ending the occupation http://972mag.com/no-way-to-defeat-jewish-terrorism-without-ending-the-occupation/109613/ http://972mag.com/no-way-to-defeat-jewish-terrorism-without-ending-the-occupation/109613/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 14:21:19 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109613 For the extreme right, violence against Palestinian civilians is not solely a result of racism — it is, first and foremost, a form of control.

The vast majority of settlers are not violent, although different levels of violence toward the Palestinian population in the occupied territories have accompanied the settlement enterprise since its inception. These acts of violence are never an outlier, but as a direct consequence of the situation in the West Bank.

The public turns a blind eye to this fact whenever these events happen. The responses to the murder of the 18-month-old baby Ali Dawabshe, are a sign that we will continue to ignore the bigger picture.

Israeli soldiers are seen in front of the damaged house of the Dawabsha family, which was set on fire by Jewish settlers and where 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha died, in the West Bank village of Duma, on July 31, 2015. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Israeli Border Policemen are seen in front of the damaged house of the Dawabsha family, which was allegedly set on fire by Jewish settlers, killing 18-month-old Palestinian Ali Saad Dawabsha, in the West Bank village of Duma, July 31, 2015. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

The defining characteristic of the occupation is that it includes two civilian populations living alongside one another, which are subject to two different legal systems. The Palestinians live under a military regime, while every Israeli who lives or even visits the settlements “brings” the Israeli law with them, including all the legal protections she or he is granted.

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The second defining characteristic of the occupation is the Israeli desire to slowly expand the territory and resources for the Jewish public, while slowly lessening Palestinians’ territory. This combination — a military regime with civilian settlement — is what causes the Israeli occupation to look and feel a lot like colonialism or apartheid, even if there is not an exact overlap. This is the essence of the regime, regardless of the question of whether or not this is our forefathers’ land, or who was here first.

Colonialism always goes hand-in-hand with racism, and extreme racism is always accompanied by violence. Even if the original motivation that brings about a colonial situation is not racist, at a certain point the ruling group must somehow justify its own privileges, which inevitably leads to racist worldviews. For example, that the occupied population is not “ready” to have all their rights, or that it is inherently weak and violent; that it doesn’t appreciate life as we do; that it prefers to live in close, dirty quarters, etc. The struggle against racism in Israel — to the degree that it even exists — will fail as long as the occupation exists, since we will always need racism in order to justify the occupation.

But racism cannot fully explain the violence toward Palestinian civilians. Some of the more infamous attempts to harm Palestinians — the Jewish Underground, which carried out a murderous attack on a seminar in Hebron and attempted to blow up five Palestinian buses, was the most well known of them — were not exceptionally racist. The Jewish Underground’s goals were first and foremost political: to prevent the possible evacuation of settlements while strengthening Jewish rule over the local population through fear, intimidation and “punishing” leading figures, as was the case with their attacks on Palestinian mayors. The excuse is always the “weakness” of the central regime — what is seen as hesitancy to implement Israeli sovereignty vis-a-vis the Palestinian population. The violence is and remains a form of control.

Benzi Gopstein, a well-known settler activist and leader of the extreme right Levaha organization, disrupts olive harvest in Hebron. (Activestills)

Benzi Gopstein, a well-known settler activist and leader of the extreme right Levaha organization, disrupts olive harvest in Hebron. (Activestills)

The history of colonialism is rife with such examples. One of the most famous ones was the Organisation de l’armée secrète, a far-right paramilitary group that used terrorism to try and prevent Algeria’s independence from French colonial rule. At one point the group began targeting French citizens, such as Sartre — who supported an end to French rule — and even President De Gaulle himself.

A similar pattern has taken shape here. The central idea behind the so-called “price tag” attacks is political — tightening control over the Palestinians through “punishment” (of innocents) whether as a response to attacks on Jews or what is seen as the weakening of Jewish grip on the West Bank, usually after demolition of structures in outposts or settlements. The most minor harassment to Palestinians are usually accompanied with talks of “the need to teach them a lesson,” “to teach them respect,” and so on.

Read: Settler violence — it comes with the territory

During my army service in the occupied territories, I encountered many of these kinds of remarks, especially in Hebron, where the friction Jews and Palestinians was and remains the most intense. Sometimes it resulted in breaking car windows or sun-heated water tanks atop of Palestinian homes. In other cases it was a slap to the face or spitting in the direction of a passerby. In Gaza and the Nablus region, the incidents usually took place near the checkpoints. I remember a few instances in which armed settlers exited their cars (especially when there was a long line, or the junction was blocked for some reason), berated and threatened the Palestinians in the very same lordly tone. It is hard to even think about that same Israeli citizen leaving his car in a traffic jam in Haifa, waving his weapon at the other drivers and yelling at the police to do their job, at least without it ending in his arrest. Why does the same person act differently on the other side of the Green Line? The difference lies in the occupation, and everyone involved knows it.

Israeli settlers at the Hebron Jewish settlement's Purim parade on the city's Shuhada Street. Itamar Ben Gvir (L), is dressed as a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner. February 24, 2013 (Activestills.org)

Israeli settlers hold their annual Purim parade on Hebron’s Shuahda Street. The street has been closed off to Palestinian access for several years, February 24, 2013 (Activestills.org)

Of course Palestinians also try to harm Jews in the occupied territories — but the difference is that there is an entire system that works to deal with Palestinian violence. It does so vigorously and using tools that are unacceptable in Israel’s legal system: mass arrests without trial, warrantless searches (even in houses of non-suspects), torture, collective punishment (canceling entry permits to Palestinians whose family member was involved in terrorism), targeted assassinations, etc.

After the horrendous murder of the Fogel family in 2011, the army put the Palestinian village of Hawara under curfew, broke into houses and forcefully took D.N.A. samples from all the men of the village.

Any Palestinian who wrote a murderous manifesto such as the one published by Moshe Auerbach [Hebrew] — which explained how to look for Palestinian homes to light on fire while blocking the entrance of the house so that the victims are unable to escape — would be locked up for many years, or at least held in administrative detention. But Auerbach himself was released as a result of a procedural mistake by the prosecution.

IDF soldiers prevent Palestinians from plowing their land after disruptions by settlers, Sinjil, West Bank. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

IDF soldiers prevent Palestinians from plowing their land after disruptions by settlers, Sinjil, West Bank. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

When I served in the army, the IDF still defined its goals as ensuring the security of all the residents of the occupied territories. Today, however, it is made clear in briefings that the first goal is to protect Jews, and the idea that all Palestinians are enemies — even the “non-combatants” — is growing.

This is an unfathomable situation. We go about our lives feeling like the law is protecting us. Most of the time this system works, and when it doesn’t we become angry, and justifiably so. But the Palestinian population is vulnerable to arbitrary harassment, whether by soldiers or settlers.

While the Palestinian Authority spends 25 percent of its budget on security, its main role is to ensure the safety of Israelis, not Palestinians (this fact alone should have put an end to the age-old question of whether or not Israel still controls the Palestinians). A Palestinian policeman cannot arrest a settler, even if an attack was to take place before his own eyes. Palestinians are therefore dependent on the good will of the army, the police or the Shin Bet, and these bodies do not give much importance to protecting Palestinian life, aside for in a few exceptional cases.

Add to this the fact that the majority of Palestinian civilians killed in the West Bank are killed by the army itself. In comparison to the IDF, the violence of the extreme right is still marginal. And IDF violence is treated far more leniently than price tag attacks. Even in the most extreme cases, where there is a clear suspicious of murder by Israeli soldiers, the system’s instinct is to cover it up. When an investigation is pursued, it is done long after the incident took place and with limited resources (+972 published a series of incidents detailing stories of soldiers who killed Palestinians and were let off the hook) Punishment is almost nonexistent, aside from a few special cases (which are entirely symbolic).

In fact, the main reason the army investigates these cases is the need to enforce discipline on its troops, along with a desire to protect the military leadership from the International Criminal Court (a functional internal mechanism to investigate such crimes is one of the legal protections against these kinds of international criminal trials).

The problem begins with the highest ranks: the General Officer Commanding the IDF’s Central Command himself, who is charged with maintaining Palestinian security, was involved in the killing of an unarmed Palestinian [Hebrew]. The commander of the Binyamin Regional Brigade shot a Palestinian stone-thrower who was running away from him; a video that came to light after the incident revealed that the IDF’s version of the events was inaccurate, to say the least. These events, which take place regularly, illustrate the absurdity behind the notion that the army will protect Palestinian civilians.

Family members of 17-year-old Mohammed Sami al-Ksbeh mourns during his funeral in Qalandiya refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah July 3, 2015. A senior Israeli army officer shot and killed Ksbeh who was throwing stones near a checkpoint in the West Bank on Friday, June 3, 2015. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Family members of 17-year-old Mohammed Sami al-Ksabeh mourns during his funeral in Qalandiya refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah July 3, 2015. A senior Israeli army officer shot and killed Ksabeh who was throwing stones near a checkpoint in the West Bank on Friday, June 3, 2015. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Still, I do not support the recent calls to use all the means available to the IDF and the Shin Bet — which are used on Palestinians every day — against right-wing Jewish extremists. This approach will only increase the number of human rights violations by the occupation. No one is planning to place a settlement under curfew or take all of its men to D.N.A. tests, and for good reason. As I wrote earlier, violence is inseparable from the colonial reality in the occupied territories — without putting an end to that reality, there is no chance to properly deal with violence. Even if things cool down temporarily, the situation will only grow worse in the long run. The only solutions are the evacuation of settlements or equal rights for all.

There were people on the left who claimed in recent days that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett are responsible for the murder of Ali Dawabshe. But in my eyes, their responsibility is no greater than that of centrists who believe that the occupation is tolerable, or that there is “no partner” and “no alternative,” and therefore the status quo in the occupied territories must remain for the time being. The occupation and the settlements create violence. It is true that the war against Jewish terrorism should not wait for the end of military rule — but without fighting the occupation, there is no chance of winning the battle against Jewish terrorism.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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Palestinian citizen attacked in suspected hate crime http://972mag.com/palestinian-citizen-attacked-in-suspected-hate-crime/109605/ http://972mag.com/palestinian-citizen-attacked-in-suspected-hate-crime/109605/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 09:06:01 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109605 Amad Abu Sharah was walking home from morning prayers when he was allegedly jumped by a group of men with sticks.

Palestinian resident of Lydd, Amad Abu Sharah, after he was attacked in the early hours of the morning, allegedly by religious Jews. (photo: ledawy.net)

Palestinian resident of Lydd, Amad Abu Sharah, after he was attacked in the early hours of the morning, allegedly by religious Jews. (photo courtesy of ledawy.net)

Amad Abu Sharah, a Palestinian citizen and activist from Lydd (Lod in Hebrew), was attacked in the early hours of Sunday morning at the entrance to his house on his way back from morning prayers at a nearby mosque.

Activists in Lydd are planning to hold a meeting Sunday in light of the growing tensions between the settlers from the “Garin Torani” (a core group of national-religious Jews who often move into poor, mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhoods in order to strengthen its Jewish character) and the Arab residents of the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood in the north of the city. A protest denouncing the attack is also scheduled for Sunday evening. The Arab residents of Lydd have been on high alert ever since the arson attack on a Palestinian home in the West Bank village Duma burned an 18-month-old infant to death on Friday.

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According to his police testimony, Abu Sharah was attacked by a group of religious Jewish men, who were armed with sticks, jumped on him and attacked him before fleeing. Neighbors brought Abu Sharah to Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center, where he is currently hospitalized.

According to the police, it is unclear whether the attackers were Jewish, and the matter is currently under investigation.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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Thousands protest against racist, homophobic attacks; place blame on gov’t http://972mag.com/thousands-hit-the-streets-to-protest-racist-homophobic-attacks/109577/ http://972mag.com/thousands-hit-the-streets-to-protest-racist-homophobic-attacks/109577/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 19:08:09 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109577 Across Israel, thousands of protesters flood the streets, laying the blame on the government for the arson attack that killed a Palestinian infant and the stabbing attack on marchers during Jerusalem’s Pride march.

Photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Thousands attend a rally organized by Peace Now protesting the arson attack that took the life of an 18-month-old Palestinian baby, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 1, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands attend a rally organized by Peace Now protesting the arson attack that took the life of an 18-month-old Palestinian baby, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 1, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands of people gathered in cities across the country on Saturday night to protest against the racist and homophobic attacks of the past few days. The demonstrations come in response to Thursday’s mass stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Pride Parade, as well as the arson attack in the West Bank village Duma, where 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha was burned to death.

In Tel Aviv over 3,000 people attended a rally organized by Peace Now, calling for “an iron fist against Jewish terrorism.” Among the speakers were opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who earlier on Saturday called on the government to expand its use of administrative detention against Jews involved in terrorism.

Nasser Dawabshe, the uncle of the slain infant, also spoke, saying that Netanyahu’s condolences were not enough, and that it is the prime minister’s duty to ensure the security of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. “We demand that this be the end of our people’s suffering,” he told the crowed. “Before Ali came Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and we do not know who is next in line. We want these arson attacks to end.”

Nasser Dawabshe, uncle of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe, who was burned alive during an arson attack this week,  speaks during the Peace Now rally, August 1, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Nasser Dawabshe, uncle of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe, who was burned alive during an arson attack this week, speaks during the Peace Now rally, August 1, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Not far from Rabin Square, thousands gathered at Gan Meir Park to protest the stabbing attacks that took place during the Jerusalem Pride march on Thursday. The speakers list included former President Shimon Peres, members of both the coalition and the opposition, as well as representatives of LGBT groups.

When Likud MK Yuval Steinitz went up to the podium to speak, dozens of LGBT activists held up their hands in gloves dyed the color red, calling out “homophobia begins with the government.”

LGBT activists protest Yuval Steinitz as he speaks during a rally protesting the attacks on the Jerusalem Pride Parade, August 1, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

LGBT activists protest MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) as he speaks during a rally in the wake of the attacks on the Jerusalem Pride Parade, August 1, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In Jerusalem, over 1,000 people gathered in Zion Square under heavy security to protest against both the attacks of the past week. President Reuven Rivlin, who has received numerous death threats for speaking out against the arson attack in Duma, was the keynote speaker, saying that “We cannot continue treating these as tragic coincidences, we cannot put out the fire with weak condemnations.”

“Contempt for the rule of law, for the love of mankind, these create the conditions that lay the foundation for what we call ‘bad apples.’ We need to ask what kind of public atmosphere exists that allows for these bad apples to grow and flourish here.”

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Who wants to talk about the murder of Bedouin women? http://972mag.com/who-wants-to-talk-about-the-murder-of-bedouin-women/109566/ http://972mag.com/who-wants-to-talk-about-the-murder-of-bedouin-women/109566/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:25:47 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109566 The Israeli media has time to talk about Iran, the security budget, and Beit El. That means that when Arab women are murdered, there are always more important issues to cover. 

Women from the West Bank city of Bethlehem march to protest honor killings and other forms of violence against women, Bethlehem, November 16, 2013.

Women from the West Bank city of Bethlehem march to protest honor killings and other forms of violence against women, Bethlehem, November 16, 2013. (photo: Activestills.org)

Six Arab women have been murdered in Israel since the beginning of the year — four of them in the last month alone.

I know that some of you are probably thinking that Arabs are a primitive, violent and shallow people. Well, yes. Unfortunately there are many of those kinds of people in Arab society. These creatures usually come in the form of men. They exist in Hebrew and English versions too. In fact, they exist in any language you choose. So yes, the society I live in includes violent men who view women as property, or as a lowly creature not worthy of rights.

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This is the kind of man who murdered Tasnim Abu-Qweider, a mother of two, who was 22 when she died. In the wake of the crime, which took place only several days ago, two more helpless children joined a growing list of orphans in Israel.

Try to imagine two small children in a faraway, unrecognized village in the middle of the desert. They must live in the shadow of violence and shame for the rest of their lives. How much will it take to rehabilitate them?

Not an isolated incident

I walked around with this immense pain for two straight days. The Committee Against the Killing of Women was resurrected in the wake of the murder. A month ago we were half-paralyzed after Raeda Nijim, a teacher and mother of three from the village of Jan, was shot and killed. One journalist angered me after he sent me the following message: “You’re not doing anything about it? You’re afraid because it’s a crime family, right?”

I refused to respond. Beyond issuing a condemnation, we weren’t able to do a thing. The Hebrew media did not mention the murder, and not a single investigative reporter took interest. Nor did anyone talk about it when Raeda’s 20-year-old niece, Liyali Nijim, was murdered a few years ago. We didn’t hear about how she was killed using a weapon that belonged to the Border Police, and it is likely that her aunt, was also murdered by a weapon belonging to the army, due to the family’s connection to the IDF. Perhaps I am just imagining, dreaming, or simply hate the army and the weapons it provides to violent men, and that many weapons can be found here on the black market. A large number of those weapons, however, come from the army.

Several days passed before Na’ama Abu Arar was shot and killed. Everyone was quick to explain that it was part of an ongoing family dispute, as if that somehow makes it okay. The Bedouin began fighting — that’s how it goes. This time I drove to the the Abu Arar home in the Negev village of Arara and spoke to Na’ama’s daughters. They told me about how their mom brought them inside the house during a gun battle in the neighborhood and was hit by a bullet. However, the boy who showed me how to get to the Abu Arar home told me she was murdered by her own family. “Don’t believe them,” he told me. And truly, I believe him. Not a single person asked questions. No one did a thing.

One week later, a brawl in the Bedouin township Rahat turned bloody. A 17-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman paid with their life.

The condemnations were quick to come: the political leadership, the families, the religious leaders — everyone. Everyone announced that they would return the “quiet” to the residents, while telling the police not to interfere too much in the “sector’s” internal issues.

As expected, the Hebrew media was busy talking about the Iran nuclear deal. A closed circle of Israeli talking heads mostly talked among themselves, and no one bothered to let them know that the agreement was signed. They commemorated a decade since the disengagement from Gaza, which refuses to disengage from Israel’s consciousness and budget. They spoke about the natural gas deal that is going nowhere, with long numbers that none of us know how to read. They also spoke about the state’s security budget, which is being boycotted by the defense minister.

Among all these big, important stories, who wants to talk about the murder of a Bedouin women in an unrecognized village?

39 women in five years

Women’s organizations in the south, who were shocked and appalled by the murder, decided to organize a protest. But then we received two messages about two different protests. This immediately turned into a big fight on WhatsApp over why we will not join forces, and why two women’s groups in the south cannot stand together in a joint demonstration. Our attempts at organizing a feminist reconciliation led nowhere, so we decided to pretend that having two protests on the same day is a strong show of feminism. Thus, the 30 activists who care about this issue split off into two small, quiet protests in front of the local police station.

I arrived at the protest with a volunteer from a women’s center in Lyd. The American volunteers, who were supposed to widen our ranks, did not receive permission to participate in a demonstration organized by Arab women in the middle of the desert, after it was deemed dangerous for young American women to stand in the sun without sunscreen.

After a police officer told us that he knows well the importance of the basic right to protest, he asked that we don’t stand in the road, since it is a dangerous junction where many have died. I held on to a rope on which we hung the names of all the women who have been murdered over the past five years. Thirty-nine names in total.

One Bedouin man stood with us, and like an Ashkenazi Jewish woman his presence made me so excited. Poor guy. I wanted him to speak on Nazareth’s Radio Ashams, which promised to broadcast the protest as it was happening, although in the end they did not call us on time. It seems that Radio Ashams, too, dedicated its time to very serious matters, wuch as speaking to the Jordanian Waqf about the clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque. They therefore did not have time to get to our protest. The disappointed women (and the one man) called it quits after an hour-and-a-half in the southern heat. A young man who stepped out of a car at the station joined the protest for a few minutes. “I’m rushing to the bus,” he said, “but I’m with you.” He is also tired of these murders.

Arab women, and one man, protest against the murder of Arab women, outside a a police station in southern Israel. (photo: Samah Salaime)

Arab women, and one man, protest against the murder of Arab women, outside a a police station in southern Israel. (photo: Samah Salaime)

The policemen stood helplessly across from us, and mostly just filmed the demonstration. One of them momentarily joined the protest, only to take a “selfie” with us. I took a photo of the Border Policemen who were standing just beyond the rope. Raeda Nijim’s name could be seen in the frame; after all, a Border Policeman is said to have been involved in her murder. The irony of it all makes it hard for me to breathe. I smiled while looking at the photograph, and one of the demonstrators told me, “Look, now you have something to write about.”

The following day, Jack Khoury from Radio Ashams compensated us by interviewing our male hero about the protest. Army Radio journalists drove me crazy as they tried to put together a story, which filled me with relief, now that we can finally speak about this matter in Hebrew. I holed myself up in a quiet room and waited for the phone to ring. Two hours later, the investigative journalist called and told me that the demolition of two buildings in Beit El have taken over the daily agenda, and promised to bring up the topic in the future.

“After the next murder, inshallah, don’t worry,” I told myself.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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A Month in Photos: After violence, the joy of Eid becomes a blur http://972mag.com/a-month-in-photos-after-violence-the-joy-of-eid-becomes-a-blur/109530/ http://972mag.com/a-month-in-photos-after-violence-the-joy-of-eid-becomes-a-blur/109530/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 11:15:35 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109530 A Palestinian family is burned alive in a settler attack, Jerusalem’s Pride Parade ends in terror, and three Palestinian youths are killed by Israeli soldiers. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, during which thousands celebrated on the shores of the Mediterranean, seems like a lifetime ago.

Photos by: Oren Ziv, Ahmad al-Bazz, Faiz Abu-Rmeleh, Keren Manor, Mustafa Bader, Anne Paq, Yotam Ronen, Tess Scheflan / Activestills.org, Edit: Anka Mirkin.

Palestinians from the village Duma gather at the Dawabshe house, which was attacked by two arsonists Friday morning. Ali , an 18-month-old toddler, was burned to death in the attack. His parents and four-year-old brother are currently hospitalized in Israel in serious condition. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians from the village Duma gather at the Dawabshe house, which was attacked by two arsonists Friday morning, July 31, 2015. Ali, an 18-month-old toddler, was burned to death in the attack. His parents and four-year-old brother are currently hospitalized in Israel in serious condition. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians in the West Bank village of Duma carry the body of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe after he was slain in an arson attack during the early hours of the morning, July 31, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians in the West Bank village of Duma carry the body of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe after he was slain in an arson attack during the early hours of the morning, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians mark the first anniversary of the killing of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was snatched and burned alive by Jewish extremists in an act of revenge after the abduction and murder of three young Israelis, Shuafat, East Jerusalem, July 2nd, 2015. These two violent episodes had precipitated the 50-day war in the Gaza Strip which killed over 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 Israelis, mostly soldiers. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Palestinians mark the first anniversary of the killing of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and burned alive by Jewish extremists in an act of revenge after the abduction and murder of three young Israelis, Shuafat, East Jerusalem, July 2, 2015. These two violent episodes precipitated the 50-day war in the Gaza Strip which killed over 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 Israelis, most of them soldiers. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Nawaja family sits in the family's tent that is salted for demolition by Israeli authorities, Susya, West Bank, July 3, 2015. (photo: Keren Manor / Activesitlls.org)

Nawaja family sits in the family’s tent that is salted for demolition by Israeli authorities, Susya, West Bank, July 3, 2015. All living structures in the village are under threat of demolition. (photo: Keren Manor / Activesitlls.org)

A Palestinian man climbs over the Israeli Wall from the West Bank town of al-Ram to the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina, to attend the Friday prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the town of Al-Ram, near the Qalandiya checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, on the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, July 3, 2015. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

A Palestinian man climbs over the separation wall in the West Bank town of al-Ram in order to cross over into the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, to attend the Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque, second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, July 3, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Jewish activists and allies commemorate Israel's 2014 assault on Gaza, one year later in Brooklin, MA on Sunday, July 26, 2015. (Tess Schaflan / Activestills.org)

Jewish activists and allies mark one year since Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, Brookline, Massachusetts, July 26, 2015. (photo: Tess Schaflan / Activestills.org)

Palestinians cross the 300 checkpoint between the West Bank city of Bethlehem and Jerusalem on their way to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, on the third Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, July 3, 2015. (photo: Mustafa Bader / Activestills.org)

Palestinians cross the 300 checkpoint between the West Bank city of Bethlehem and Jerusalem on their way to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, July 3, 2015. (photo: Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

'Obliterated Families in Gaza' photo street-exhibition hangs in a window-shop in Boston, MA, July 14, 2015. The street-exhibition mark a year to the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip featuring photos of families killed during the attacks. (Tess Schaflan / Activestills.org)

The ‘Obliterated Families in Gaza’ street-exhibition hangs in a shop window in Boston, MA, July 14, 2015. The street exhibition marks a year to the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and features photos of families killed during the attacks. (Tess Schaflan/Activestills.org)

Israeli policemen arrest Palestinians after they climb over the Israeli Wall to attend the Friday prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the town of Al-Ram, near the Qalandiya checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, on the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, July 3, 2015. (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org)

Israeli policemen arrest a group of Palestinians after they climb over the separation wall to attend the Friday prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque, A-Ram, on the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, July 3, 2015. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The Israeli wall separates families of the West Bank village of Nazlet Issa (Right) and Baqa Al-Gharbiya town, inside the green line (Left), July 17, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

The separation wall separates families of the West Bank village of Nazlet Issa (right) and Baqa Al-Gharbiya inside the Green Line (left), July 17, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

'Obliterated Families in Gaza' photo street-exhibition hangs on the East Side Gallery, on the remains of the Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany, July 12, 2015. The street-exhibition mark a year to the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip featuring photos of families killed during the attacks. The exhibition was put by activists in various locations in the city. (photo: Anne Paq / Activestills.org)

The ‘Obliterated Families in Gaza’ photo street exhibition is seen on the East Side Gallery, on the remains of the Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany, July 12, 2015. The exhibition marks a year since the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip featuring photos of families killed during the attacks. The exhibition was put up by activists in various locations around the city. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray overnight during Laylat al-Qadr, outside the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 13, 2015. Layal al-Qadr, Night of Destiny, falls on the 27th day of the fasting month of Ramadan, marking the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed through the archangel Gabriel. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray overnight during Laylat al-Qadr, outside the Dome of the Rock in the Aqsa Mosque compound, Jerusalem’s Old City, July 13, 2015. Layal al-Qadr, which translates to ‘Night of Destiny,’ falls on the 27th day of the fasting month of Ramadan, and marks the night Muslims believe the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed through the archangel Gabriel. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women shout slogans as Israeli police forces block Palestinians at an entrance of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city, after Israeli police and authorities limited access to one of Islam's holiest sites, July 26, 2015, following clashes inside the compound. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Palestinian women chant slogans as Israeli police forces block Palestinians at an entrance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, after authorities limited access to one of Islam’s holiest sites following clashes inside the compound, July 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians protest in Al Aqsa mosque compound against Israeli right-wingers, following a protest in which the laters called to allow Jews to pray inside the compound, Jerusalem's old city, July 24, 2015. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

Palestinians protest in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following a protest by right-wing Israelis who called to allow Jews to pray inside the compound, Jerusalem’s Old City, July 24, 2015. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Armed and masked Palestinian militants raise their weapons during the funeral of Mohammad Abu Latifa in the Qalandiya refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 27, 2015. Abu Latifa was shot and killed as he was running away across a roof to avoid his arrest during an army raid. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Armed Palestinian militants raise their weapons during the funeral of Mohammad Abu Latifa in Qalandiya refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 27, 2015. Abu Latifa was shot and killed as he tried to avoid arrest during an army raid. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police forces stand guard while Israeli settlers watch on as bulldozers, under an Israeli High Court ruling, start the demolition of the so-called Dreinoff buildings in the settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, 29 July, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Israeli police forces stand guard while Israeli settlers watch bulldozers, under an Israeli High Court ruling, demolish of the so-called Dreinoff buildings in the settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah in the West Bank, 29 July, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women enjoy the Mediterranean Sea during the second day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday as the sun sets in Jaffa, July 18, 2015. Israeli authorities issued thousands of permits for Palestinians living in the West Bank, allowing them to visit Israel during the three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Palestinian women enjoy the Mediterranean Sea during the second day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday as the sun sets in Jaffa, July 18, 2015. Israeli authorities issued thousands of permits for Palestinians living in the West Bank, allowing them to visit Israel during the three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian youth takes photos with her cellphone of Eritrean African asylum seekers on their wedding day in the Mediterranean Sea during the second day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday as the sun sets in Jaffa, July 18, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

A Palestinian youth takes photos with her cellphone of Eritrean African asylum seekers on their wedding day in the Mediterranean Sea, second day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday as the sun sets in Jaffa, July 18, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The mother of Palestinian youth Mohammed Sami al-Ksbeh, 17, mourns during his funeral in Qalandiya refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah July 3, 2015. A senior Israeli army officer shot and killed Ksbeh who was throwing stones near a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Friday. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

The mother of Palestinian youth Mohammed Sami al-Ksebeh, 17, mourns during his funeral in Qalandiya refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah July 3, 2015. A senior Israeli army officer shot and killed Ksbeh who was throwing stones near a checkpoint in the West Bank. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against natural gas privatisation and export, Tel Aviv, July 4, 2015. Some 4,000 people marched in protest of government bill to privatise and export natural gas found in the Mediterranean sea in Israel's territory. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against the privatization of natural gaz, Tel Aviv, July 4, 2015. Some 4,000 people marched in protest of government bill to privatize and export natural gas found under Israeli sovereignty in the Mediterranean Sea. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians, many of whom came from the West Bank, are seen in Haifa during the last day of the Eid al-Fitr, July 19, 2015. Israeli authorities issued thousands of permits for Palestinians living in the West Bank, allowing them to visit Israel during the three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

Palestinians, many of whom came from the West Bank, take a ‘selfie’ in Hafa during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, July 19, 2015. Israeli authorities issued thousands of permits for Palestinians living in the West Bank, allowing them to visit Israel during the three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers jailed in Holot detention center pray after eating an Iftar meal, a traditional meal to break the day's fasting during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Negev Desert, July 5, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers jailed in Holot detention center pray after eating Iftar, a traditional meal to break the day-long fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Negev Desert, July 5, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Palestinian Khader Adnan, who staged a 56-day hunger strike against his administrative detention in Israeli prison, lies in Makassed hospital near his wife, East Jerusalem, July 16, 2015. Adnan, 37, was released before dawn on July 12, 2015 and is receiving treatment for the medical consequences of his hunger strike. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

Khader Adnan, who staged a 56-day hunger strike against his administrative detention in Israeli prison, lies in Makassed hospital near his wife, East Jerusalem, July 16, 2015. Adnan, 37, was released before dawn on July 12, 2015 and is receiving treatment for the medical repercussions of his hunger strike. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinian, Israeli and international activists march next to the village of Susiya to protest its imminent demolition and the forced transfer of its residents, South Hebron Hills, West Bank, July 24, 2015. The activists marched through the village, stopping at various homes along their way to hear the stories of families facing eviction and transfer. At the end of the demonstration activists hung a massive banner in view of passing settlers, declaring that Susiya is here to stay. (photo: Keren Manor / Activestills.org)

Palestinian, Israeli and international activists march near the village of Susiya to protest its imminent demolition and the forced transfer of its residents, South Hebron Hills, West Bank, July 24, 2015. The activists marched through the village, stopping at various homes along their way to hear the stories of families facing eviction and transfer. At the end of the demonstration activists hung a massive banner in view of passing settlers, declaring that Susiya is here to stay. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Anarchist activists protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv against the recent attacks of the Turkish army against the Kurdish militias, July 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Anarchist activists protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv against the recent attacks by the Turkish army against the Kurdish militias, July 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Blood is seen on the pavement following a mass stabbing attack against the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. Six people were stabbed at Jerusalem's annual Gay Pride Parade. The suspected attacker, Yishai Schlissel, is the same man behind the attack on the 2005 parade, recently released from 10 years in prison. (photo: Keren Manor / Activestills.org)

Blood stains are seen on the pavement following a mass stabbing attack against participants in the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. Six people were stabbed by suspected attacker, Yishai Schlissel, who was also behind the attack on the 2005 parade, and was recently released from 10 years in prison. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Right wing activist is being arrested during a LGBTQ rage demonstration against the stabbing attack during the Jerusalem Pride Parade just several hours before, July 30, 2015. Six people were stabbed at Jerusalem's annual Gay Pride Parade. The suspected attacker, Yishai Schlissel, is the same man behind the attack on the 2005 parade, recently released from 10 years in prison. (photo: Keren Manor / Activestills.org)

A right-wing activist is arrested during a LGBTQ demonstration against the stabbing attack during the Jerusalem Pride Parade, July 30, 2015. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against natural gas privatisation and export, Tel Aviv, July 26, 2015. Some 4,000 people marched in protest of government bill to privatise and export natural gas found in the Mediterranean sea under Israel's territorial waters. (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against natural gas privatization and export, Tel Aviv, July 26, 2015. Some 4,000 people marched in protest of government bill to privatize and export natural gas found in Israel’s territorial waters. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Guarded by Israeli policemen, Muslim worshipers pray on the streets outside Jerusalem's old city, July 31, 2015, following restrictions by Israeli police to only allow men above 50-year-old to access the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.  Israel limited the accesses to Al Aqsa follwing an arson attack by Jewish settlers in the village of duma, where 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha died. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

Guarded by Israeli policemen, Muslim worshipers pray on the streets outside Jerusalem’s Old City, July 31, 2015, following restrictions by Israeli police to only allow men above 50 to access the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Israel limited the accesses to Al-Aqsa following an arson attack by Jewish settlers in the village of Duma, where 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed. (photo: Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org)

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‘Why did they burn a baby alive? What did he do?’ http://972mag.com/why-did-they-burn-a-baby-alive-what-did-he-do/109508/ http://972mag.com/why-did-they-burn-a-baby-alive-what-did-he-do/109508/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:12:37 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109508 Hours after the terrorist attack that took the life of Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabshe, relatives and friends are still trying to make sense of what happened in the early hours of Friday morning.

Text and photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Palestinian relatives mourn the death of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe, after he was killed in an arson attack by Jewish settlers, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian relatives mourn the death of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe, after he was killed in an arson attack by Jewish settlers, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In the hours of the morning, the road leading from Nablus and the nearby settlements to the West Bank village of Duma is empty. Generally, when Palestinians attack Jewish settlers, the army hermetically seals the roads and raids the neighboring villages. Things are different this time around.

Inside Duma, dozens gather around the two homes that were set ablaze in the early hours of Friday morning. In one of them, 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe was burned to death in an attack by Jewish Israelis. His mother, father and four-year-old brother Ahmed were badly wounded.

Dozens of people, locals, journalists, and human rights workers, gathered throughout the day in the Dawabshe house, which was set on fire during the early hours of Friday morning, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Dozens of people, locals, journalists, and human rights workers, gathered throughout the day in the Dawabshe house, which was set on fire during the early hours of Friday morning, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The family’s home is almost entirely burned, including the bedroom, the kitchen and part of the living room. It is hard to recognize the remains of furniture or even clothing. Relatives are busy trying to salvage whatever they can. Inside the charred bedroom, relatives have places photographs of Ali on the ground as a makeshift memorial.

Yousef, a paramedic from the nearby village Aqraba, described the events of the morning to +972: “At 2 a.m. we received a report about an incident. I arrived with my ambulance and saw the house engulfed in flames. We evacuated the family to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. The little boy died and the rest were in such bad condition that we needed to transfer them to Israel. A helicopter came and took them.”

Relatives laid dozens of photos of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe in memorial to the slain toddler, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Relatives laid dozens of photos of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe in memorial to the slain toddler, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A relative of the Dawabshe family who lives next door — and whose house was also targeted in the attack — also described the incident: “I woke up from a noise at 2 a.m. Luckily my children were sleeping in Nablus, otherwise they would have been killed,” he explains while pointing at the burned-down bedroom next to the entrance of the house. He walks around the house restlessly, still staring incredulously at the soot-covered walls hours after the attack itself.

“When I woke up,” he continues, “I saw the entire house in flames. They threw something through the window and everything just lit up.”

“I didn’t see who did it,” he adds, pointing at the Hebrew graffiti reading “Revenge” and “Long live the Messiah” scrawled outside the house. “But I have no doubt who is responsible.”

The word 'revenge' is seen graffitied on the wall of the Dawabshe house, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The word ‘revenge’ is seen graffitied on the wall of the Dawabshe house, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A new group of people arrives every few minutes — locals, journalists, human rights workers or passersby. One of the residents shouts at them, “This is Israel, look at what they did to us, why did they burn a baby alive? What did he do?”

A veteran Palestinian photographer who made his way from Nablus tells me that this is the first time he has ever seen soldiers stopping settlers on the road. “And me, with my Palestinian license plate — they just let me pass without a problem.”

In West Bank funerals, the body is first brought to the family house, so that the women can part from the deceased. On Friday there was no family to bring the body to, so Ali is taken straight to the mosque in the village center, where hundreds arrived for Friday prayers.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah holds up a photo of slain Palestinian toddler, Ali Saad Dawabshe, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah holds up a photo of slain Palestinian toddler, Ali Saad Dawabshe, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah comes to the village, flanked by a large Palestinian police force. The local residents, whose village receives very little attention from the Palestinian Authority, don’t seem too happy with his visit.

Hamdallah marches into the house while looking at the burned walls and the photographs of Ali on the ground. He speaks to the local reporters in Arabic, saying: “We do not accept Netanyahu’s condemnation. The responsibility lies with his government and the settlers that sit in it and incite to kill Palestinians.”

Next a small, quiet protest forms outside the mosque, where around 10 young men carry Hamas flags; Hamdallah’s security prevent them from coming near. After Friday prayers end, approximately 2,000 people march from the mosque to the cemetery, where Ali’s body is buried.

Palestinians in the West Bank village of Duma carry the body of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe after he was slain in an arson attack during the early hours of the morning, July 31, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians in the West Bank village of Duma carry the body of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe after he was slain in an arson attack during the early hours of the morning, July 31, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians mourn during the funeral march for Palestinian baby Ali Saad Dawabshe, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians mourn during the funeral march for Palestinian baby Ali Saad Dawabshe, Duma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

At Hawara checkpoint, 20 kilometers from the village at the entrance to Nablus, dozens of young men are burning tires and throwing rocks at soldiers. The army closes the checkpoint, leaving hundreds of cars stuck on both sides. The army shoots tear gas at the protesters, leading to several brush fires.

Palestinians look on at a brush fire caused by tear gas canisters shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes at Hawara checkpoint, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians look on at a brush fire caused by tear gas canisters shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes at Hawara checkpoint, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Only a few hours after the arson, another house near Hawara goes up in flames as a result of brush fire. The family manages to escape, while young Palestinians run from the clashes with the soldiers to try and put out the fire until Palestinian firefighters arrived.

Related:
Palestinian baby burned to death in West Bank arson attack
West Bank murder: Leaders fail to address nature of settler violence

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West Bank murder: Leaders fail to address nature of settler violence http://972mag.com/west-bank-murder-leaders-fail-to-address-nature-of-settler-violence/109485/ http://972mag.com/west-bank-murder-leaders-fail-to-address-nature-of-settler-violence/109485/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:25:42 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109485 The murder of a Palestinian baby has provoked condemnation from Israeli leaders across the political spectrum. Yet the harsh rhetoric masks a consistent failure by the Israeli establishment to understand the endemic nature of this kind of violence.

Relatives of Palestinian baby Ali Saad Dawabsha grieve after he was murdered in an arson attack on a Palestinian house, Duma, West Bank, July 31. 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Relatives of Palestinian baby Ali Saad Dawabsha grieve after he was murdered in an arson attack on a Palestinian house, Duma, West Bank, July 31. 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Friday morning’s “price tag” arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed Palestinian baby Ali Saad Dawabsha and left his parents and brother in critical condition, has been labeled an act of terror by nearly all Israeli and Palestinian politicians alike.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the arson “an act of terrorism in every respect,” and announced that he has put Israel’s security forces to work: “The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev struck a similar tone: “Terror is terror, no matter from which side, Jewish or Arab.”

Meanwhile, Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party declared: “This is not a ‘hate crime,’ nor ‘price tag.’ This is murder. Terror is terror is terror.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of Jewish Home, also referred to terrorism and claimed that in an event such as this, “there is no Jewish or Arab, Left or Right,” just “a battle between the forces of light and darkness.”

The IDF, too, has adopted the same rhetoric as the politicians, labeling the arson an act of “Jewish terror.” IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner, called the attack ”a barbaric act of terrorism.”

Meanwhile Zionist Camp head Isaac Herzog took a slightly different tone. Although he went further in terms of calling for “leadership” and “soul-searching” in the wake of the murder, he stopped short of using the word terrorism, instead labeling it a “hate crime.”

Photographs of Ali Saad Dawabsha, the Palestinian baby in an overnight arson attack, are laid out on the floor of his family home, Douma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Photographs of Ali Saad Dawabsha, the Palestinian baby in an overnight arson attack, are laid out on the floor of his family home, Douma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

It is rare for Israeli politicians to refer to price tag attacks as terrorism; generally, they are categorized as “hate crimes” or “nationalist crimes.” Frequently, the media frames such attacks as “graffiti,” often forgetting about damage to property or land, both of which are part and parcel of price tag attacks.

By and large, these responses sing from the same hymn sheet: all are big on condemnation, but most utterly fail to acknowledge the endemic nature of settler violence. Lacking, too, is any word on incitement by Israeli politicians. Bennett’s calls to annex the West Bank to Israel, coupled with his infamous statement about having personally killed many Arabs, sit rather awkwardly with his announcement this morning. Shaked, for her part, posted a notorious Facebook update during last summer’s Gaza war in which she called Palestinians “snakes” and suggested that Palestinian mothers and their houses “must go… Otherwise they will raise other little snakes there.”

The only statements from Jewish Israeli politicians that mention the government and army’s systemic failures in stemming Jewish terrorism have come from either Meretz or the Joint List.

In response to the murder, Meretz head Zehava Galon wrote that “the writing was on the wall” and criticized the right-wing leadership for being blind to the “direct line” between their failure to properly enforce the law in the West Bank and incidents such as last night’s lethal attack.

Read: Settler violence — it comes with the territory

Dov Khenin of the Joint List also indicated that the attack was inevitable and that the link between the arson and Thursday’s stabbing attack at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem is clear: both are the result of “hatred of the other, dehumanization and incitement that snowball into action.” He also called on the Right not to simply condemn and then wash its hands of responsibility.

Ahmed Tibi, also of the Joint List, wondered this morning whether Avigdor Liberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu still stood by their call to implement the death penalty for terrorists, satirically announcing that the houses of the settlers responsible for the arson would not be demolished by Israel.

The response of Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem to the Duma arson was unequivocal regarding who is to blame: “[This event] was only a matter of time. It is due to the authorities’ policy of not enforcing the law against Israelis who attack Palestinians and their property.” Such immunity only encourages settler violence, the statement continues, before warning that another incident of this nature is on the horizon.

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (Photo: Lisa Goldman)

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (Photo: Lisa Goldman)

Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the State of Palestine, issued a statement in the same vein: “We hold the Israeli Government fully responsible for [last night’s events]. This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism.” Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas has said that he will turn to the International Criminal Court to investigate the arson.

The US Department of State issued a strongly-worded statement Friday afternoon, condemning the “vicious terrorist attack in the Palestinian village of Douma.” The statement also extended condolences to the Dawabsha family and called on all sides to “maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions.”

Since 2004, around 11,000 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians have been recorded, according to the statement from the State of Palestine. Hundreds of “price tag” attacks occur each year, the majority of which go largely unreported and involve, inter alia, arson, looting, defacement, destruction of olive trees and other acts of vandalism, as well as physical attacks on Palestinians.

The scale of such attacks indicates the extent to which settler violence is part of the culture of the West Bank and not merely an issue of “bad apples.” The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of West Bank settlements, posted a statement this morning that “[t]his is not the way of the residents of Judea and Samaria”; however, such condemnations are incredibly rare given the consistent nature of assaults by Israeli settlers.

The indictment rate for such crimes is also extremely low: Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din has reported that a survey of Samaria and Judea District Police files investigating attacks against Palestinians and/or their property by Israeli civilians showed that between 2005 and 2014, only 7.4 percent of such cases ended with indictments. Furthermore, since the establishment of the Nationalistic Crimes Unit, tasked with investigating such crimes, the performance of the Israel Police’s SJ District has actually worsened.

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Palestinian baby burned to death in West Bank arson attack http://972mag.com/photos-palestinian-baby-burned-to-death-in-west-bank-arson-attack/109473/ http://972mag.com/photos-palestinian-baby-burned-to-death-in-west-bank-arson-attack/109473/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:59:49 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109473 Photos by Ahmad Al-Bazz, Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

A one-and-a-half year old Palestinian baby was burned to death Friday morning in the West Bank village of Duma in an attack on his family’s home allegedly by Israeli settlers.

Relatives of Ali Saad Daobasa, the Palestinian baby who was killed in an arson attack by Israeli settlers, are seen in the Daobasa family home, just hours after the attack, July 31, 2015. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz.)

Relatives of Ali Saad Dawabsha, the Palestinian baby who was killed in an arson attack by Israeli settlers, are seen in the Daobasa family home, just hours after the attack, Douma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz.)

According to reports, two masked men arrived at two homes in Duma, near Nablus. They spray painted the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” in Hebrew, broke the windows of the homes and threw two firebombs inside. The attack killed Ali Saad Dawabsha, and wounded both his parents and four-year-old brother.

According to Ma’an News Agency, 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.

A relatives of Ali Saad Daobasa, the Palestinian baby who was killed in an arson attack by Israeli settlers, are seen in the Daobasa family home, just hours after the attack, July 31, 2015. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz.)

A relatives of Ali Saad Dawabsha, the Palestinian baby who was killed in an arson attack by Israeli settlers, are seen in the Daobasa family home, just hours after the attack, Douma, West Bank July 31, 2015. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz.)

Dozens of villagers from Duma rushed to help rescue the two families from their burning homes, witnesses said. The family members were evacuated to a hospital in Nablus in the West Bank before being taken to the burn unit at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.

Palestinian relatives of 1.5-year-old Ali Saad Daobasa stand outside the family home that was attacked by Israeli settlers overnight. The graffiti reads: 'Long live the Messiah,' July 31, 2015. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinian relatives of 1.5-year-old Ali Saad Dawabsha stand outside the family home that was attacked by Israeli settlers overnight. The graffiti reads: ‘Long live the Messiah,’ Douma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

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

Photographs of Ali Saad Daobasa, the Palestinian baby in an overnight arson attack, are laid out on the floor of his family home, Douma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Photographs of Ali Saad Dawabsha, the Palestinian baby in an overnight arson attack, are laid out on the floor of his family home, Douma, West Bank, July 31, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

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Who will pay the price for the Jerusalem Pride stabbing? http://972mag.com/who-will-pay-the-price-for-the-jerusalem-pride-stabbing/109461/ http://972mag.com/who-will-pay-the-price-for-the-jerusalem-pride-stabbing/109461/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:36:10 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109461 After today’s stabbing, it is unthinkable that life will go on as usual. Especially when the people who fuel hate and incitement still roam the city.

By Yael Marom

Blood is seen on the pavement following a mass stabbing attack against the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Blood is seen on the pavement following a mass stabbing attack against the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

In Jerusalem, everything has gone back to normal. The streets are full of people and cars, apathetic toward the crime that took place here just a few hours ago, when six people were stabbed during the annual pride parade.

Instead of going out into the streets, instead of demanding that Benzi Gopstein, the head of the racist “Lehava” organization who protested against today’s parade and called it an “abomination,” instead of demanding that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat take responsibility, we will gather in the city center, lick our wounds and comfort the hundreds of young people who bore witness to the horrible act.

I arrived at the Jerusalem Pride Parade just before the stabbing. I even managed to argue with several policemen who were zealously controlling entry to the march, when all of a sudden I saw a group of officers grab the stabber, Yishai Shlissel, and put him into a police car.

Hundreds gather in Jerusalem's Zion Square to demonstrate against the stabbing attack during the Jerusalem Pride Parade just several hours prior, July 30, 2015. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Hundreds gather in Jerusalem’s Zion Square to demonstrate against the stabbing attack during the Jerusalem Pride Parade just several hours prior, July 30, 2015. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Not far from there, six young people laid on the ground, bleeding. Victims of another hate crime, thousands around them crying, yelling, looking for friends and loved ones, trying to locate acquaintances.

At the moment, the attacker is under arrest, unlike Gopstein and the other senior members of Lehava, who have been inciting against the march and accusing gays and lesbians of “trying to destroy the Jewish nation” over the past several days. The same people who always seem to cause others to commit acts of violence, who send young men to burn bi-lingual schools, who send young men to beat up Palestinians for dating Jewish women, and who lead racist riots that eventually culminate in cold-blooded murder while successfully evading any responsibility.

Israeli right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein, leader of the Lehava organization, takes part in a protest near the tram station in East Jerusalem, a day after a Palestinian man killed a baby in a vehicular attack at the same location, October 23, 2014. The sign reads: ‘Jews, Revenge’

Israeli right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein, leader of the Lehava organization, takes part in a protest near the tram station in East Jerusalem, a day after a Palestinian man killed a baby in a vehicular attack at the same location, October 23, 2014. The sign reads: ‘Jews, Revenge’. (photo: Activestills.org)

Israeli media outlets who provide this man with a platform — a man who has blood on his hands — who provide a platform to his incitement and hate speech, are only collaborating with him.

While we lick our wounds and express our deep concern for the victims, it is unthinkable that life in Jerusalem will go on as usual. This is the time to call on the LGBTQ community across the country — as well as all those who support the community and are willing to stand alongside it in the struggle against violence — to come to Jerusalem, show solidarity and do everything they can to make sure those truly responsible do not evade justice.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

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At least six stabbed in Jerusalem Pride Parade attack http://972mag.com/at-least-six-stabbed-during-jerusalem-pride-parade/109436/ http://972mag.com/at-least-six-stabbed-during-jerusalem-pride-parade/109436/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:25:45 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=109436 A man is carried away by Magen David Adom emergency services after being stabbed during the Jerusalem Pride Parade, July 30, 2015. (photo: Sarit Michaeli)

A man is carried away by Magen David Adom emergency services after being stabbed during the Jerusalem Pride Parade, July 30, 2015. (photo: Sarit Michaeli)

At least six people were stabbed Thursday afternoon during the annual Jerusalem Pride Parade. At least two are seriously wounded, one of them in critical condition.

The stabbing took place on Jerusalem’s Keren Hayesod Street, where Magen David Adom emergency services treated the victims. According to Israeli Police, the suspected stabber is Yishai Shlissel, an ultra-Orthodox man who was recently released from prison after serving 10 years for stabbing three marchers during the 2005 parade. He was caught at the scene.

Blood is seen on the pavement following a mass stabbing attack against the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Blood is seen on the pavement following a mass stabbing attack against the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

According to witnesses, the attacker emerged behind the marchers and began stabbing them while screaming. A police officer then tackled him to the ground and arrested him.

According to Haaretz, police had granted a permit to 30 right-wing activists, including far-right leader Benzi Gopstein — who heads the anti-miscegenation group, Lehava — to protest the event not far from the march. Earlier Thursday, police arrested right-wing extremist Baruch Marzel though they denied the arrest had anything to do with the the parade itself.

A man is seen crying following a mass stabbing attack against the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

A man is seen crying following a mass stabbing attack against the Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, July 30, 2015. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the attack, stating that, “We must ensure that every man and woman in Israel live securely no matter what choice they make,” and wished the wounded a speedy recovery.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, whose Jewish Home party was criticized by Israel’s LGBTQ community during this year’s election campaign for its homophobic platform, called the stabbing a “moral crime that cannot be forgiven.”

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