Family of Slain Palestinian Infant Clings to Life, Clashes in West Bank

Settlers and Palestinians clash after day of violence leaves two Palestinians dead.

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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.
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 family of a Palestinian infant burned to death in a West Bank arson attack continued to cling to life Saturday as tensions sparked by the murder continued in the West Bank.

18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh was killed early Friday morning in an arson attack that has been attributed to Jewish extremists, and which was labeled an act of terrorism by Israeli politicians and defense officials. During the attack, Dawabsheh's parents, Sa'ad and Reham, and four-year-old brother, Ahmed, all suffered serious to critical burn wounds.

According to the Israeli hospitals administering care to the Dawabsheh family, all three are still facing life threatening wounds. The mother, Reham, is suffering from third-degree burns on 90 percent of her body and is on life support in the intensive care unit of Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.

Her four-year-old son, Ahmed, suffered second-degree burns to over 60 percent of his body; he too is hospitalized at Tel Hashomer.

Sa'ad, the father, suffered severe second-degree burns on over 80 percent of his body and is at the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva. He is also is on life support.

The fatal firebombing, which was condemned around the world and by Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum, sparked unrest in Israel and the Palestinian territories, with two Palestinians killed in incidents with IDF forces on Friday.

Clashes in West Bank

Damage to the West Bank home of the Daobasa family after Friday's deadly arson attack, July 31, 2015. Credit: Reuters

On Saturday, settlers from the outpost of Esh Kedosh clashed with Palestinians from an adjacent village, south of Nablus. No injuries were reported but IDF forces were called to the scene, which declared the area a closed military zone.

According to Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in Nablus who monitors settlement activity, the settlers attacked Palestinian farmers working their land in Kusra village in an attempt to force them off the land, but dozens of local activists arrived and an altercation ensued. According to Daghlas, the incident ended when the settlers withdrew from the area.

Clashes also took place between Palestinians and IDF forces in the West Bank refugee camp of Jalazone, north of Ramallah, after the funeral of 17-year old Laith Fadel al-Khaladi, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on Friday. Eight Palestinians were lightly wounded by rubber bullets fired by IDF soldiers, according to Palestinian sources.

A number of incidents were reported overnight Friday in Jerusalem. In East Jerusalem's Shuafat refugee camp, two Border Police officers were wounded by stones thrown at them. In the Old City, flares were fired and stones were thrown at security forces. Two instances of firebombs being thrown were also reported and in one case a young Jewish boy was arrested for allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians' cars.

On Friday, 17-year-old Mohammed Hamed al-Masri, of Gaza, was killed by Israeli army fire in northern Gaza after he approached the border fence. Earlier Friday, Laith Fadel al-Khaladi, also 17, died after being shot by IDF forces in Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah. According to the IDF, he was fired at after throwing a firebomb at their pillbox.

'Jewish terror' at Douma

A relative of the Dawabsheh family told Haaretz that he saw two masked men standing next to the infant’s parents as they lay burning on the ground outside their home.

According to witnesses, at roughly 4 A.M. Friday morning, two masked men arrived at two homes in the village of Douma, not far from the settlement of Migdalim. They sprayed painted graffiti reading "revenge" and "long live the Messiah" in Hebrew, breaking the windows of the homes and throwing two firebombs inside.

One of the two homes was empty at the time, but there was a family in the second: 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh, his father Sa'ad, mother Reham, and 4-year-old Ahmed.

The four were evacuated to a hospital in Nablus in the West Bank and then to the burns unit at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.

According to eyewitnesses, the father was able to rescue his wife and 4-year-old son, but could not locate the baby, Ali, in the darkness.

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