Almost six weeks have passed since the murderous attack on the Dawabsheh family’s home in the West Bank village of Duma, yet as far as is known Israel’s security agencies still don’t have a clue about who perpetrated it. This is an unreasonable and intolerable situation. The more time passes, the greater the suspicion grows that the security agencies, first and foremost the Shin Bet security service, aren’t doing enough to capture the murderers. The killers are roaming free, thumbing their noses at the authorities and destined to perpetrate additional horrifying crimes.
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Catching the murderers of the three members of the Dawabsheh family — on Monday, Riham was buried, following in the wake of her toddler son Ali and her husband Sa’ad — isn’t like searching for a needle in a haystack. It can be assumed, with a fairly high degree of certainty, that the murderers came from one of the wild outposts around the Shiloh Valley. And in any case, the population on which suspicion has fallen — the one from which previous arsonists and lawbreakers came — isn’t a group of infinite size or indeterminate character. The Shin Bet, which excels at catching Palestinian terrorists, cannot wash its hands and claim that it is unable to catch the perpetrators of this abominable crime.
It’s enough to recall how the Shin Bet, the Israel Defense Forces and the police behaved after three Israeli teens were kidnapped more than a year ago, even once it was clear that they had already been killed: During Operation Brother’s Keeper, thousands of soldiers flooded the West Bank and arrested some 400 Palestinians, including members of the Palestinian parliament, who had no connection to the murder. And the murderers’ end came swiftly: They were liquidated.
Israel reacted savagely at that time, but it proved that every Palestinian terrorist will end up either in jail or in the grave. The burden of proof that Israel doesn’t have a policy of discriminating among the perpetrators of vile crimes on the basis of their nationality now rests on the investigative agencies and the government that gives them their orders. As long as the perpetrators of the triple murder in Duma continue to walk free, it will be impossible to dispel the suspicion that this haplessness was not inevitable.
The prime minister and the defense minister must convene the heads of the security services and make it clear to them that catching these murderers is their top priority, and all necessary resources must be devoted to this task. If they do not, the vehement condemnations of the murder that were heard from every part of the political spectrum will remain nothing but empty words.
The people who burned an entire family to death and sentenced the one member who remained alive, a 4-year-old boy, to orphanhood, are extremely dangerous — not just to the Palestinians, but also to Israeli citizens.
People who burned babies alive are walking around free. And there is no greater shame for those who should have caught them long ago.