The Palestinian Authority pledged to pursue Israel diplomatically and Hamas called for a violent response to the death Saturday of Sa’ad Dawabsha, from burns he sustained in the terrorist attack on his home in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31.
Sa’ad, 31, is the second victim of the attack, which also claimed the life of his son, 18-month-old Ali, a toddler who was burned alive in his crib when the house was torched before dawn, allegedly by Jewish terrorists.
Hundreds of mourners filled the roads of Duma on Saturday during Sa’ad’s funeral. Once the procession was over, Palestinians burned tires on the road leading into the village, prompting the army to close it temporarily, according to the IDF. Following the funeral, several dozen Palestinians threw rocks at IDF soldiers.
The soldiers did not respond.
Father of Palestinian toddler killed in arson attack dies of wounds
The PA government renewed its call seeking international protection for Palestinians in the face of recurring settler attacks. PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Saturday the “heinous crime” against the Dawabsha family would not go unpunished.
The “extremist right-wing Israeli government” is fully responsible for the arson attack, he said, claiming it is not doing anything to fight Jewish terrorism.
Malki called on the international community to hold accountable those responsible for the arson attack and Israeli authorities “for their ongoing crimes against Palestinians and their properties.”
The PA Foreign Ministry has instructed all its embassies to “expose Israeli violations against our people, especially continued settler attacks and terrorism,” Malki said. He added that the arson attack would mark the “beginning of the end of settlements and settlers.”
A statement released by Hamas claimed that the father was a “Hamas son,” saying he was a “victim of Israeli terrorism and hatred against Arabs and Palestinians.” Hamas said its men in the West Bank were preparing to avenge the deaths of the father and son.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have pledged to find the perpetrators of the attack, in which Sa’ad’s wife, Reham, 27, and son Ahmed, four, were severely burned. The security cabinet passed a number of measures to provide law enforcement agencies with extra legal tools to battle Jewish terrorism.
Last week three Israeli Jews were place under administrative detention for alleged acts of extremism, but they were not directly linked to the Duma attack. They are being held without charges.
Netanyahu issued a statement Saturday night expressing “deep sorrow over the death of Sa’ad Dawabsha.
When I visited family members in the hospital last week, I promised that we would use all the tools at our disposal to apprehend the murderers and deal with them to the fullest extent of the law and this is what we are doing.
“At last week’s security cabinet meeting, we made decisions to assist the fight against terrorism, including in regard to administrative detentions and advancing anti-terrorism legislation. We will not countenance terrorism of any kind,” he said.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog [Zionist Union] said, “Sa’ad Dawabsha is another victim of terrorism and extremism,” adding that anyone who burns families, throws firebombs and kills is a terrorist no matter what his religious affiliation is.
In an unusual move, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in which he called Jewish terrorists and violent extremists, “a fringe group within Israel, which needs to be eradicated swiftly and forcefully.”
The Palestinian Authority government said Saturday it is planning to continue its diplomatic and legal efforts to pursue Israeli “criminals.”
A spokesman for the government in Ramallah said Sa’ad’s death is “further proof of the gravity of the crime committed by a group of settler terrorists.”
The spokesman said the “presence of Israeli occupation is the reason for all crimes committed against our people.
The only way to stop these crimes is by ending this occupation.”
The ruling Fatah faction mourned the death of Sa’ad Dawabsha, and urged Palestinians to participate in committees established to patrol villages and guard Palestinians against settler violence.
Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said the case of the Dawabsha family would be brought before the International Criminal Court to ensure that the perpetrators are punished.
Last week Malki handed over to the ICC prosecutor a report detailing “settler assaults” against Palestinians over the past few years, including the arson attack that targeted the home of the Dawabsha family.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas responded to the death by calling for an allout confrontation with Israel. Hussam Badra, a spokesman for Hamas, called on Palestinians in the West Bank to initiate attacks against settlers “and not to wait until they reach Palestinian houses.”
According to Channel 2, Civil Administration head Brig.-Gen. David Menachem and the coordinator of government activities in the territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai met with Palestinian officials in an effort to prevent violence.
Since the Duma attack, there have been two attacks against Israelis. On Thursday in the West Bank, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into a group of IDF soldiers, seriously wounding two and lightly wounding a third. On Monday night, an Israeli woman was injured when her vehicle was firebombed in an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem.
On Saturday, the Dawabsha family refused an Israeli request to conduct an autopsy on Sa’ad, who had been treated at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. The Palestinian Authority has since conducted an autopsy, but the results have not been published.
Dr. Moti Klein, chief of the intensive care unit at Soroka, said Sa’ad suffered serious wounds to 80 percent of his body and that he was operated on a number of times by doctors of the hospital’s burn unit.
“The staff at the hospital fought for his life, but over the past few days, his condition deteriorated,” Klein said.
There has been a slight improvement in Ahmed’s condition, who was seriously injured in the attack, Israel Radio reported. Ahmed, four, has opened his eyes and is responding to his surroundings, according to the report.
Both he and his mother Reham, are being treated at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, outside of Tel Aviv.
“The news of the death of Sa’ad came us as a shock to us,” said Samir Dawabsha, a representative of the family. “We call upon the Palestinian Authority to dispatch a medical team to the hospital where the mother of Ali [and Sa’ad’s wife] is being treated to examine her condition. We suspect that her condition is deteriorating. We don’t have confidence in the Israeli doctors or politicians who are hiding the facts from us.”