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Palestinian family targeted by arson in 'revenge' for murder of Israeli

A 16-year-old Palestinian stabs a 19-year-old Israeli soldier to death in his sleep. That night, a completely unconnected Palestinian family’s home is set alight while they sleep, in revenge for the murder.

Khaled Abed a-Rahman Dar Khalil surveys the damage to his home while holding his daughter. Seven members of the Khalil family were inside their home when it was firebombed by Israeli extremists early Thursday morning. (Photo: Activestills.org_

A Palestinian home in the West Bank village Sinjil was firebombed early Thursday morning in an apparent revenge attack for the murder of an Israeli soldier yesterday by a Palestinian teenager. Seven family members were inside at the time. Graffiti left on the house read, “Regards from Eden, Revenge.” There is no known connection between the Khalil family and the family of the alleged murderer from Jenin.

Members of the Khalil family stand outside their burned-out home in the West Bank village of Sinjil, near Ramallah. Seven members of the Khalil family were inside their home when it was firebombed by Israeli extremists early Thursday morning, November 14, 2013. (Photo: Activestills.org)

On Wednesday, Hussein Sharif Ghawadra, a 16-year old kid from Jenin, is suspected of murdering Eden Atias, a 19-year-old kid (and soldier) from Upper Nazareth by stabbing him while he slept on a public Israeli bus as it arrived in Afula from Nazareth.

Ghawadra has since been taken by the Shin Bet for questioning, along with his father and five siblings who have since been released. They were seen on Israeli TV yesterday saying they had no idea Hussein was planning the attack, were not looking for problems and supported peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Police claim Ghawardra said he committed the murder to take revenge for two family members incarcerated in Israeli jails.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon and several other Israeli ministers blamed the murder on Palestinian Authority incitement and propaganda against Israel.  Following the stabbing, Israelis gathered in the Afula Central Bus Station to demonstrate, chanting “Jewish blood is not cheap” and “Death to Arabs.”

According to B’Tselem (which, it is important to note, is the only Israeli body that released the name of the family whose house was firebombed, as none of the Israeli media thought it necessary to do so), Khaled and Rawida Khalil were asleep at home with their five children, ages ranging from one to seven, when they heard noises at around 2 a.m.. They spotted several people pouring gasoline at the entrance to their home, lighting it on fire and then escaping.

A member of the Khalil family outside his burned-out home in the West Bank village of Sinjil, near Ramallah. Seven members of the Khalil family were inside their home when it was firebombed by Israeli extremists early Thursday morning, November 14, 2013. (Photo: Activestills.org)

They called for help from their neighbors who called firefighters and police and tried to put the fire out, while the Khalil family was forced to flee to their roof, as the only exit to their home was on fire. Firefighters arrived 40 minutes after the call, the police and IDF, after an hour. All five of the children suffered smoke inhalation and requiring oxygen and first aid treatment. Their house and possessions suffered severe damage.

Fact sheet: Israeli police fail to prosecute violence against Palestinians

The IDF Spokesperson condemned the attack, saying in official statement: “[The attack] distracted the attention of security forces from their main mission, which is to combat terrorism, and undermines the relative security in the area.”

The IDF did not find it necessary to directly condemn the fact that Israeli civilians decided to take revenge on an innocent family while they slept in their home. Peace Now has demanded (Hebrew link) the police relate to the act as attempted murder. (A request submitted to the IDF for further comment went unanswered at the time of this report. If and when it responds, this post will be updated.)

This is not the first time Israeli citizens living in the West Bank have committed revenge attacks for the murder of Israeli citizens. Last May, after Yitzhar settlement resident Evyatar Borovsky was stabbed to death, Israelis desecrated Palestinian graves. Also, Palestinian cars were vandalized in response to the recent murder in September of Israeli soldier Tomer Hazan in the West Bank.

Related:
Israeli politicians protect ‘price tag’ attackers 
Shin Bet impotent in face of settler ‘Price Tag’ attacks 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Joel

      @Mairav

      Shouldn’t the headline read:

      ‘Nineteen year old Israeli soldier stabbed to death in his sleep. Palestinian family targeted for revenge.’

      Reply to Comment
    2. The Trespasser

      >…the fact that Israeli civilians…

      Strictly speaking, it is not known for a fact that Israelis are involved.

      Reply to Comment
      • A face whose innocence should not have been taken away.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Corporate identity forces more corporate identity. Some declare it a crime not to retaliate, and this will be true on all sides. The rule of law, treating each event in itself, not tying them as such by corporate label, attempts to short this process. Personal motivation is not group action. But, if we ever force the two together in our discourse, we do get what we say we want.

      The IDF statement “[The attack] distracted the attention of security forces from their main mission, which is to combat terrorism, and undermines the relative security in the area.” fails to note that, for this family, there was an act of terrorism–just as for the 19 year old killed soldier and his family and friends. Terrorism is not the property of a single corporate entity.

      Reply to Comment
    4. ish yehudi

      On all the radio news i heard tonight there were interviews with the Palestinian family whose house was burned- very passionate interviews with a very human call. And every radio host was pointing out the seriousness of the line crossed here in terms of tag mechir– that this was undertaken against people- not property- in distinction to almost all previous occasions.
      And as long as I’m writing- remember after the killing of Col. Suraya (h’yd) in the Jordan Valley when everyone on this blog was writing about how crazy everyone in israel is and racist in their assumptions that it was a nationalistically motivated attack of hatred against Israelis? And you were inciting the whole world to continue in the diatribe of Zionist/Racist etc etc.
      Did you read their confessions to day- they axed him to death as a “gift to the Palestinian people.” thats just what i read on the Israeli media- could just be…

      Reply to Comment
      • If a line is seen as having been crossed, it is time for the IDF to show so through enforcement.

        As for “gift to the Palestinian people,” perhaps it was said; this does not mean that “the Palestinian people” accept the gift, largely because in this context there is no “Palestinian people” in the concrete. It would be as wrong to say that this revenge attack is “accepted by the Jewish people.” The rule of law should act to prevent such statements from augmenting violence. The IDF has the capacity to now act to this end and bring us all a little closer to sanity.

        Reply to Comment
        • ish yehudi

          Greg- my point wasn’t what you read– it was about the way the writers here read the situation– and also a little bit out of the anger/ pain of watching the rise of murders in the last few months.
          When the attack in the jordan valley happened- i remember writers here castigating people for jumping to conclusions and running with the rumor that it was criminally related. THere is a serious lack of international community whom work with/ for Palestinians pushing to denounce murder/ attacks instead of just sympathizing with it, which is so easily read as justifying. “If I was living under occupation i’d be ready to murder too!”
          A sleeping 18 year old in uniform is an easy way to lash out for a frustrated 16 year old, ( who is now frustrated his relatives aren’t getting out of jail after being found guilty of double murder?) where does that get its justification from?

          Reply to Comment
          • While a sleeping 19 year old is an easy target, I don’t think it is generally an easy matter for a 16 year old to lash out this way. Your land is full of travail and stories of travail on all sides. People encourage one another into places of anger and hatred (hell, it is happening here in the US over health care as a matter of destructive social violence which partially shut the government). This 16 year old may be unbalanced, but he was probably helped in getting there. There will always be people who lash out against authority violently (that happened here in the US at an airport recently). What structural violence does is augment the number who might and channel how they might. Recall the amok bulldozers in Jerusalem? Same thing.

            It is not just occupation but advancement through occupation which is generating this floating anger, coupled with the lack of property protection endured by Palestinians, which is indeed part of that advancement. If you want to reduce this floating anger you must reduce its cause. I view these murders as triggered by internal community talk, violence kept near the threshold through such talk. You have the power to begin to change this as a State. Otherwise, it is not that the murders are excused, but such attempts become inevitable. Moreover, if no form of successful protest is allowed (when is the last time you heard of the redress of Palestinian grievance?), violence becomes the only apparent option. This is not justification, but social reality.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            DELETED FOR RACIST CONTENT.
            Consider this a warning Tresppaser

            Reply to Comment
          • Luckily those Arabs don’t know how to brush their teeth–or we would really be in trouble!

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Regretfully, these Arabs don’t know much of anything.

            Reply to Comment
          • BaladiAkka48

            THANK YOU to 972 mag for letting the racist bastard Trespasser comment here on a daily basis. This sick person has dumped his shit here for months without being moderated.
            If anyone wonders why practically no Palestinians feel like commenting on this blog, this is one of the reasons, Jewish fascists like Trespasser who belongs in a mental hospital.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >THANK YOU to 972 mag for letting the racist bastard Trespasser comment here on a daily basis.

            Yeah. Thankfully, 972 is run by Jews, who know what is the freedom of speech.

            >This sick person has dumped his shit here for months without being moderated.

            You just can’t refrain from lying, can you? Or you might just not know what word “moderation” means?

            >If anyone wonders why practically no Palestinians feel like commenting on this blog, this is one of the reasons, Jewish fascists like Trespasser who belongs in a mental hospital.

            Basically, you have no arguments to counter mine, but being unable to admit that, you are launching those pathetic ad hominem attacks in vain attempts to silence the voice of truth.

            Reply to Comment
    5. David Wasser

      I am an American Jew with deep ties to Israel. I have family and friends there and have lived there on and off myself. If you look at the long history of this war between us and the Palestinians, it is not hard to see how we have arrived at the point where some Israeli Jews feel that this “Price Tag” ideology makes sense. What is harder to understand is how these individuals fail to see how their actions put them in the same category as their enemies. How do they not see that by adopting a policy of purposely targeting innocents, they have become that which they profess to hate? And how do they think the world will respond to this? Don’t they realize that there will be a “Price Tag” for their “Price Tag”??? When you get to the point where you think you can defeat terrorism with terrorism, you have lost.

      Reply to Comment
      • Vanguard settlers (not those in places like Ariel) have evolved a culture of immunity. The IDF seems to rarely push back actions against property or persons of Palestinians. The State lives with price tags. While some such settlers may employ reasoning which limits these attacks to property, not all do, nor are these latter necessarily controlled by the former.

        The Yesh Din reports on this site have focused on the lack of State reply against wrongs to Palestinians for some time. This event is the natural consequence of this attitude. Some settlers are special; you have to understand them. So the IDF press statement:
        “[The attack] distracted the attention of security forces from their main mission, which is to combat terrorism, and undermines the relative security in the area,” which frames the event not as a violation of property and overt intent to harm or kill, but as a tactical mistake.

        Until the IDF/police enforce the rule of law I expect these events to continue. Local Palestinians will remember them and, just as you may have stories of Palestinians, they now have stories of Jews. The State could turn this attitude around, but it would require a long look in the mirror, something most of us really don’t do.

        What does it mean to be a Jew protected by the State? That is the question for Israelis.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >Until the IDF/police enforce the rule of law I expect these events to continue.

          Palestinian Arabs does not accept the rule of the law of the state of Israel. I don’t think that those who reject the state should enjoy its protection.

          >What does it mean to be a Jew protected by the State? That is the question for Israelis.

          It means that the State is being protected by the Jewish population.

          Reply to Comment
          • You’ve just endorsed a revenge action which might have lead to the death of children. Congratulations.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >You’ve just endorsed a revenge action which might have lead to the death of children

            You’ve just made it up.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Mairav, do you have an update? Press TV claimed that children died, did they mistranslate “to suffocate”?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Mairav Zonszein

      @DavidWasser, thank you for your comment. @Engelbert, the child did not die. @BaladiAkka, I hate Trespasser’s comments as much as you and have deleted one of them and warned him.

      Reply to Comment
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