Israeli Defense Minister: Not Enough Evidence to Prosecute West Bank Arson Suspects

Moshe Ya'alon says while Duma murders are 'clearly a Jewish attack' and that defense establishment can identify members of group behind attack, state lacks evidence to try suspects.

Three women stand inside the Dawabsheh family home in Duma, West Bank, where an arson attack claimed three lives, August 4, 2015.
Three women stand inside the Dawabsheh family home in Duma, West Bank, where an arson attack claimed three lives, August 4, 2015. Menahem Kahana \ AFP

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday that Israel does not currently have enough evidence to detain or prosecute the suspects in the Duma arson murders.

Ya'alon told Army Radio that the July firebomb attack that killed three members of the Dawabsheh is "clearly a Jewish attack that I am ashamed of" and that the defense establishment knows the members of group behind the attack. However, Ya'alon repeated that there is "not enough evidence against them."

On Monday, the deputy attorney general for criminal law told a Knesset committee that "extraordinary measures" have been used in questioning the suspects currently in custody.

The High Court of Justice on Sunday authorized the Shin Bet security service to continue preventing three suspects in a fatal arson attack in the West Bank this summer from meeting with their lawyers

One of the suspect's father recently posted a picture on Facebook with the caption “Bogie [Ya'alon's nickname] is living in Dumaland,” using Ya’alon’s nickname, as well as a post calling President Reuven Rivlin “führer.”

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) published a column on Thursday morning in the B'Sheva weekly newspaper in which he said the Duma attack, as well as other attacks carried out by Jews, should not be considered terrorism.

The Dawabsheh family home was torched on July 31, immediately killing 18-month-old Ali and critically wounding his mother, father and brother. The mother, Reham, and father, Sa’ad, have since died. The only surviving member of the nuclear family, Ahmed, 4, remains in serious condition at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, outside of Tel Aviv.