Israel Has Identified Duma Arson Suspects but Won’t File Charges Yet, Says Defense Minister

Ya'alon says suspects not being identified to protect the sources; since attack that killed members of Dawabsheh family, three Jewish assailants have been detained.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A Palestinian inspects the Dawabsheh family's house after it was torched in the village of Duma near the West Bank city of Nablus, July 31, 2015.Credit: AP

Israel’s defense establishment knows who is responsible for the arson attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family two months ago, but has chosen to prevent legal recourse in order to protect the identity of their sources, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told a closed meeting of some 20 young Likud activists in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Three Jewish suspects were put under administrative detention following the attack.

The Dawabsheh family: The father, Sa'ad, the mother, Reham and their son, Ali, all killed in an arson attack in their home in the West Bank village of Duma. Credit: Family photo

The Dawabsheh family home in Duma, West Bank, was torched on July 31, immediately killing 18-month-old Ali and critically wounding his mother, father and brother. His mother, Reham, and his father, Sa'ad, have since died as well. His 4-year-old brother Ahmed is still hospitalized in serious condition.

The words "Vengeance" and "long live the Messiah" were spray painted on the torched Dawabsheh family home, and an empty house was set ablaze as well. An eyewitness reported seeing four men flee the scene toward the settlement of Ma'aleh Ephraim.

Graffiti reading 'revenge' found at the scene of the arson terror attack in Duma, July 31, 2015.Credit: AP

The IDF described the incident as "Jewish terrorism." At Ya’alon's request following the attack, the political-security cabinet approved the use of administrative detention against suspected Jewish terrorists. Such practice is commonly used against Palestinians suspected of terror activities.

Three Jewish suspects are currently being held without trial for terrorist activities: Meir Ettinger, who according to the Shin Bet headed an extreme rightist organization intent on toppling the Israeli government though violent means, and encouraged others to carry out terrorist acts; Mordechai Meyer, the alleged arsonist behind a fire at Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem; and Eviatar Slonim, accused of setting fire to a home in the Palestinian town of Khirbet Abu Falah.

None of these names has been explicitly tied publicly to the attack on the Dawabsheh family home in Duma.

Comments