The Accuser From Hebron, the Accused From Duma

A notorious Hebron settler has filed a complaint against the elder of the Dawabsheh family, who lost a son, daughter-in-law and grandson to an arson fire allegedly set by settler terrorists.

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Screenshot from wedding video shows men burning a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, a Palestinian baby killed with his mother Reham and father Saad in the arson attack on the family home in Duma.
Screenshot from wedding video shows men burning a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, a Palestinian baby killed with his mother Reham and father Saad in the arson attack on the family home in Duma. Credit: Courtesy of Channel 2

Noam Federman, one of the dignitaries of the Jewish settlement in Hebron, filed a complaint with the police last week against Mohammed Dawabsheh, father of Sa’ad, who was burned to death in the July firebombing of his family’s house in the West Bank village of Duma that also killed Sa’ad’s wife Reham and 18-month-old son Ali.

The complaint was based on an interview that Assaf Gibor, a reporter with the Makor Rishon weekly and the nrg news website had with the grieving Mohammed Dawabsheh.

Federman posted the following description of his complaint on Facebook:

“I filed a complaint with the Hebron police against Mohammed Dawabsheh, the father and grandfather of from the village of Duma, for incitement and sedition to harm Jews.” (The names of the dead from the Dawbasheh family were deleted in the original.) Federman goes on to state: “Dawabsheh, who gave an interview to Makor Rishon and nrg reporter Assaf Gibor, said among other things: ‘I tell the youth get stronger in your faith and get closer to Allah, and then go for Jihad against the Jews.’ He also said: ‘I hope and pray that the intifada will be successful in achieving its goals. In my view, it is a milestone toward a genuine solution. The solution is not a Palestinian state but rather an Islamic caliphate in all of Palestine.’ In a video on the nrg website, Dawabsheh said: ‘Inshallah [God willing] the intifada will avenge the blood of the Dawabsheh family and Al-Aqsa.’ It’s interesting how the police and the prosecution will make excuses for not putting him on trial.”

So much for Federman. Now to Gibor’s report, which appeared on January 3 on the nrg website under the headline, “Mohammed Dawabsheh: ‘Only the intifada will avenge the blood of those murdered.’” Even before getting to the article, the reader’s attention is drawn to the video featured with the article, presenting the image of the grieving grandfather, thin and dark-skinned, with a short, white beard, a skullcap on his head, dressed in a seemingly thin, gray galabiya robe over a sweater that can be seen underneath. He is seated on a plastic chair looking intensely at his young guest, Assaf Gibor. Only Gibor’s right side is visible and he is leaning somewhat toward his elderly interviewee.

Bristles of hair on Gibor’s face outline a beard from his temples to his chin. His head is covered with a round gray hat trimmed in black. Despite the presence of a gas stove, it’s clear that it was cold in the grandfather’s house. Gibor is bundled up with a gray coat with dark gray, wool-padded collar up to his chin.

The Internet video is just 52 seconds long. The recording begins with comments by the grandfather in Arabic, expressed with some effort: “Inshallah, the intifada will avenge them,” followed by a brief pause. “The Dawabsheh family and Al-Aqsa. After all, Al-Aqsa is holy, holy, holy to the Dawabsheh family. You see, that is to say, as the Dawabsheh family is.”

The translation into Hebrew on the video insert, however, is different: “Inshallah that the intifada will avenge the blood of the members of the Dawabsheh family and Al-Aqsa. Al-Aqsa was sacred to the family and now the shahids [martyrs] of the members of the family are holy like the Al-Aqsa mosque.”

The journalist then asks in a low voice that is not altogether clear: “But the blood of the Dawabsheh family you have to avenge via the intifada?” The elderly man nods his head in agreement and repeats what he said at the beginning: “Inshallah, the intifada will avenge them.” Gibor then goes on to ask what his interviewee’s opinion is of the Israeli justice system. The man dismisses it and says: “It’s just a picture of a court. They want to improve [beautify] their faces, but they are ugly, ugly.”

In the article on the website there are also other quotes from Dawabsheh and his wife that are not in the video, but some of the very fluent comments quoted in Federman’s complaint don’t appear in the news item at all (for example, reference to jihad and the solution of an Islamic caliphate). We Googled the report, thinking that perhaps nrg published a full version, but did not find it. We inquired further and were told that the other quotes appeared in the print version of Makor Rishon.

Makor Rishon, the extreme right-wing settlers’ weekly, does not reach us in Ramallah, so we could not check the full version. Anyway, we are convinced that when Dawabsheh is interrogated by the police over his seditious comments against the Jews printed in a newspaper directed at a nationalist Jewish readership, the full recording of his remarks will be played back, including the journalist’s questions. (And we have a question: Will the editors also be interrogated over the seditious statements directed at their readers?)

We couldn’t help noticing the comments in response to Federman’s post. For example, Dr. Dalia Stern of Bar-Ilan University (and a Facebook friend of Israeli Black Panther Kochavi Shemesh), expresses doubts shared in other responses: “The complaint will be dropped out of lack of public interest, [which] means stop driving us crazy and harassing us.”

Ada Oved, a home realtor and medical secretary who studied at Tel Aviv University, wrote: “Congratulations. That’s the only way they understand. Don’t be at all afraid.” Fabian Amrani, who worked for the Israel Defense Forces, said: “It’s a shame he wasn’t burned too.” And Ohad Cohen, who studied at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, wrote: “A family of murderous terrorists. God willing the day will come when they are expelled from the country in a transfer together with all the other clans.”

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