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Israel says it arrested several Jewish extremists

The attack on Ali Dawabsheh's home sparked global shock and condnmention [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 August, 2015

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Israel says it has arrested several settlers as Palestinians mourned the death of Saad Dawabsha, the father of the toddler killed by settlers, who died from his burns.

Israeli security authorities say they have jailed two high-profile Jewish extremists for six months without charge and that it arrested additional suspects in illegal West Bank settlements.  

The arrests come after the deadly July 31 firebomb attack on a Palestinian home in the West Bank that killed an 18-month-old boy and severely wounded his parents and brother. 

The father of the toddlerdied from his burns Saturday, and relatives at his funeral denounced Israel for complicity in settler violence. 

Thousands of mourners, many waving Palestinian flags, turned out to lay Saad Dawabsha to rest as his flag-draped body was carried by an honour guard of Palestinian security forces.

"It's a crime committed by the settlers but with the agreement of the (Israeli) occupation," relative Anwar Dawabsha told AFP.

"It isn't possible that Israel with all its army and its intelligence services still has no information on this attack," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated Saturday evening a pledge to hunt down the killers.

"I wish to express my deep sorrow at the death of Saad Dawabsha," he wrote.

"Last week, when I visited the family in hospital, I promised to use all the means at our disposal to catch the murderers and bring them to justice, and that is what we are doing." 

The July 31 attack in the village of Duma that killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha, and also wounded his mother and brother, led to angry Palestinian protests and an international outcry over Israel's failure to curb violence by Jewish settlers.

     The Dawabsha family's small brick and cement home was gutted by the fire, and a Jewish Star of David was spray-painted on a wall along with the words "revenge" and "long live the Messiah".

Saad Dawabsha died early Saturday in hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba where he was being treated for third-degree burns for the past eight days.

The head of the hospital's intensive care unit said his prospects had been slim from the outset. 

"With burns covering 80 percent of the body, chances of survival are very, very slim, almost zero," Motti Klein told Israeli public radio.

"He underwent a number of skin grafts but, despite everything, his vital systems collapsed."

Dawabsha's wife, Riham, and four-year-old son Ahmed are still fighting for their lives in another Israeli hospital, near Tel Aviv.

However, a doctor said Ahmed was showing some encouraging signs.

"He is conscious at the moment, communicating with relatives," Marina Rubinstein told the radio.

"His condition is still serious," she added. "He faces a large number of operations and a very long period of hospitalisation."

The Dawabsha family's small brick and cement home was gutted by the fire, and a Jewish Star of David was spray-painted on a wall along with the words "revenge" and "long live the Messiah".

'Confront the occupation'
 

"Nothing will stop these murderous settler attacks and... we cannot wait until they come into our villages and our homes," Hossam Badran, spokesman of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas, wrote on Facebook from his base in Qatar Saturday. 

"Our people in the West Bank have only one choice: that of open and comprehensive confrontation against the occupation."  

Earlier Saturday an autopsy was performed on Saad Dawabsha's body at An-Najah University Hospital in city of Nablus, near Duma.  

A Palestinian official told AFP the pathologist's report would be submitted in evidence to back up a complaint to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

On Monday, the Palestinians submitted a request to the ICC to probe the firebombing and settler terrorism. 

The world-wide revulsion and outrage at the murders pushed Israeli extreme right wing government  to approve apply adminstrative detention, a measure used against the Palestinian, to  suspected Jewish extremists. The measure allow for individuals to be held for lengthy periods without charge.

     The measure aims to appease world public opinion, shocked by the horror of the arson attack.

Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the late US-born ultranationalist, racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, and Eviatar Slonim, another Jewish extremist, were placed under administrative detention Sunday for their involvement in an extremist Jewish organization.

The two, who are in their early 20s, were arrested last week. Another Jewish extremist, Mordechai Mayer, was placed under six-month administrative detention last week.  

Activists  say the measure aims to appease world public opinion, shocked by the horror of the firebomb attac. 

Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused Ettinger of leading an extremist Jewish movement responsible for encouraging attacks on Palestinian property and Christian holy sites, including an arson attack on a well-known church near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel that marks the New Testament story of the miracle of the loaves and fish.  

In late July, Israel arrested five young Israelis in connection with the arson attack, including Mayer.  

Israeli authorities also carried out arrest raids Sunday in two West Bank settlements. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri would not say whether the arrests were linked to the arson attack. The arrests, carried out by a nationalist crime unit, were connected to "a number of events that occurred recently" in the West Bank, she said.  

Authorities said one of the raided outposts was Adei Ad. In January, Jewish settlers near Adei Ad threw stones at US consular vehicles carrying American officials who were visiting the area.  

Israel would not name the other outpost raided, but local media identified it as the Baladim settlement.

 

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