Duma killers will be charged soon, says defense minister

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that “Jewish terrorists” were responsible for the arson that killed the Dawabsha family in July.

December 27, 2015 00:35
4 minute read.

Hebrew grafitti at the Dawabsha family home in Duma where a fire engulfed the house after a molotov cocktail was thrown at it. (photo credit: ZAKARIA, RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS)


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Indictments will be issued soon against those responsible for the killing of three members of the Dawabsha family in the July torching of their home in Duma, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) said Saturday night in an interview with Channel 2.

Unfortunately, he said, “Jewish terrorists” are responsible.

A Judea and Samaria police spokesman said that indictments could be issued as early as this week.

Ya’alon spoke with Channel 2 in the aftermath of two controversial issues that grabbed headlines over the past week – the publication of a video dubbed “the wedding of hate” that showed Jewish extremists dancing to a song calling for more Palestinians to be killed and stabbing a photograph of the slain toddler, Ali Dawabsha; and claims by attorneys for the Duma suspects that the Shin Bet is torturing them.

The wedding video was shown to cabinet ministers and settler leaders, because a number of them did not believe Jews could be behind the Duma murders.

The impact of the video domestically to help “clean house” from such extremism is worth the price Israel may pay for it in the international arena, Ya’alon said.

“What happened at the wedding is the antithesis of Judaism,” he said, adding that the time has come for politicians, rabbis, settler leaders and those in the national religious camp to do some soul searching on the issue of Jewish terrorism.

They have to understand how serious this phenomenon has become, Ya’alon said, claiming that those who saw the video “were shocked.”

“Someone has to do some soul searching here,” he said, being careful not to cast aspersions on the entire national religious camp or the settlement enterprise.

There are implications to ignoring the rule of law, he warned, even in minor instances, such as illegal building in Judea and Samaria or those who raised their voices against the High Court of Justice.

“Youngsters who see things in black and white believe that it is permissible to throw stones or sacks of urine at soldiers and police officers, or to puncture their tires,” Ya’alon said.

He said there is a direct link between such infractions to the revenge attacks against Palestinians, which include vandalism and the eventually spilling of Palestinian blood and celebration of it.

“We also have to investigate the rabbis who, over time, have led young people to carry out such acts,” Ya’alon continued, explaining that there are some rabbinical figures whose words could be considered incitement.

“The law is the law, without any ifs, ands or buts,” he said.

“Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism, whether it is done by Jews or Arabs. You have to do everything you can to combat terrorism,” he added, saying it is irresponsible to act otherwise.

The defense minister rejected the torture claims, saying the suspects “had not been hung upside down” or attempted to commit suicide as their attorneys have charged.

There are tools the Shin Bet is authorized to use to obtain confessions, he said, but that those confessions have to stand up in court and he has full confidence in the agency and its investigative techniques with suspects.

Meanwhile, Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid, blamed far right nationalist rabbis for the hatred of the young people in the video and others like them in a speech at a Shabbat cultural event on Saturday in Mevaseret Zion, in which he was interviewed on stage by journalist Shalom Yerushalmi.

“I see the attempts to say this is an isolated fringe, but sadly this is not the case,” Lapid said. “Those who today ask themselves, ‘How did something like this happen to us?’ - Where were you? Don’t you know what Rabbi Ginsburgh says to his students? Don’t you know what Rabbi Lior says to his students? “Where were you when rocks were thrown at security forces in Beit El? Did you stand up and say this cannot happen in our camp? Now they’re saying it’s an isolated fringe. It’s not, it has ideological support, it has political support and this is a moment of truth for the Religious Zionist movement. It cannot disassociate itself so easily by claiming this is an isolated fringe.”

Asked about right-wing accusations that the Shin Bet tortured the Duma murder suspects, Lapid said, “There is rightly a ‘ticking bomb’ procedure in place. Terrorism, whether Jewish or Arab, must be dealt with as terrorism. The Shin Bet is doing its job. There is a campaign of slander against the Shin Bet, there is an attempt by the lawyers of the suspects to undermine the organization which defends our lives and protects our children. The people of the Shin Bet deserve support, not slander.”

Ben Hartman and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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