Herzog Demands Killers of Palestinian Dawabsheh Family Be Tried

Isaac Herzog's call comes on the heels of petitions to the High Court by Arab MKs who also want to see the prosecution of the perpetrators behind the West Bank arson attack that killed a baby and his parents.

Olivier Fitoussi

Opposition leader and Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog has called for concerted action to identify the perpetrators of the arson attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family last summer and bring them to justice as quickly as possible.

“The terrible murder of the Dawabsheh family haunts us as a people and as a terrible crime,” said Herzog on Monday “Whoever did it consciously sought to undermine the foundations of the state and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We must stand like a fortified wall before terror of any kind and defeat it.”

Ali Dawabsheh, aged 18 months, was burned to death after firebombs were thrown into his home in the West Bank village of Duma, in late July. His father, Sa’ad Dawabsheh, died eight days later, while his mother, Reham Dawabsheh, died in early September, both in Israeli hospitals. The couple’s 4-year-old son remains hospitalized.

The slogans “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” were spray-painted in Hebrew on the walls of the burned house.

In September, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that suspects have been identified but not arrested, in order to avoid exposing intelligence sources.

At a meeting of the party caucus, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid called for the immediate capture of the perpetrators, saying: “The killers of the late Ali Dawabsheh and his family must be found and put in prison for the rest of their lives. This is a test of our ethical identity.”

Last week MK Esawi Freige (Meretz) petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that Ya’alon be ordered to prosecute the family’s killers and not to settle for administrative detention out of fear of compromising Shin Bet security service sources.

Joint Arab List MKs Basel Ghattas, Jamal Zahalka and Haneen Zoabi filed a similar petition yesterday, arguing that the decision not to indict the suspects is contrary to the principle of equality before the law and defies reason. All the conditions for prosecution exist, the MKs said, and there is no basis to the argument that there is insufficient evidence.

The petition also argues that intelligence information should not be favored over justice, and administrative detention does not take precedence over open and public justice.

“The attorney general has ignored our approaches to him on the issue for the past two-and-a-half months, while the defense minister goes public with increasingly bizarre claims,” said Ghattas. There’s no reason not to put the killers on trial and they will now have to explain it to the court.

“There’s no logic in the authorities continuing to ignore Jewish terror — and administrative detention, to which we object in principle, is not the solution.”