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Burning Palestinian Children: Settler violence is not exceptional

Israel/Palestine
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The burning to death of two Palestinian children over the past year by Israeli settlers is symptomatic of a larger violation of international law, established and maintained by Israel without limits: the Israeli settlement enterprise in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It is one of the main obstacles towards achieving a lasting and just peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

On 31 July 2015, Israeli settlers threw a petrol bomb inside the house of a Palestinian family in the village of Doma, near Nablus, while the family was sleeping. One and a half-year old toddler, Ali Dawabsheh, was burnt to death while other family members remain critically injured. Israeli Minister of Defense Ya’lon described the attack as “Jewish terror” and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his “shock and horror” over the attack, also referring to it as “terrorism”.   Almost one year ago, 16-year old Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped by Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem and burned alive. Israeli officials made similar statements in response to the murder of Abu Khdeir.

These two events are not unique in the context of settler violence against Palestinians and their property. Settler attacks against Palestinians are reported and monitored on an almost a daily basis. The murder of Ali Dawabsheh and Muhammad Abu Khdeir are among the 11,000 settler attacks against Palestinians and their property that have gone unpunished over the last decade. This lack of accountability only ensures the rise in such attacks.

Israel’s High Court of Justice issued an order last week for the demolition of two buildings in the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah. The Court viewed the two buildings as illegal because they were built on land that is privately owned by Palestinians. The decision, which was implemented on 29 July amidst protests by settlers and strong opposition by Israeli officials including Netanyahu, gives the false impression that the Court is impartial, applies the law equally in all cases of “illegal” house construction, and that the settlements themselves are legal.  This is simply not the case.  The settlement enterprise, in its entirety, is in contravention to international law; this has been affirmed by many UN resolutions, and in the 2004 International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the Wall.

Subsequent to the demolitions in Beit El, to appease the settlers, Prime Minister Netanyahu reapproved the immediate construction of 300 settlement units there.

Israeli officials’ stance in reaction to Ali’s killing is contradictory. On the one hand, they condemn this particular settler attack against Palestinians. On the other, they encourage and support settlement expansion, and deny the fact that settlements are illegal and deprive Palestinians from exercising their right to self-determination.

In order for peace to be achieved in the region, Israel must dismantle the settlement enterprise, and act in accordance with international law.  Palestinian children will continue to be killed and injured if the international community does not take immediate action to end the occupation.

About Tahseen Ellayyan

Tahseen Ellayyan is the head of the Monitoring and Documentation Department at Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organisation based in Ramallah that was established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

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13 Responses

  1. just
    just
    August 4, 2015, 9:50 am

    “Subsequent to the demolitions in Beit El, to appease the settlers, Prime Minister Netanyahu reapproved the immediate construction of 300 settlement units there.”

    It was a “reward” for more illegal settlement to the illegal squatters who violently rioted against all of the forces of the Israeli government. It’s hard to fathom rewarding illegal and violent behavior, but with all of the trash- talking by ministers and Netanyahu about the Court- ordered demolition, what can one expect but more of the same?

    The government incites, the people follow, and the Occupied Palestinians and Palestine are ALWAYS the losers and the victims of a state that’s out of control. May the day come, and soon, that all Palestinians will be free to live their lives on their land with full rights, dignity, respect, safety, and joy.

    Thank you for your article, Tahseen Ellayyan.

    Thank you and your colleagues for your work at Al- Haq.

    • RobertHenryEller
      RobertHenryEller
      August 5, 2015, 1:51 pm

      “It’s hard to fathom rewarding illegal and violent behavior, . . . ”

      But this is exactly what the United States has been doing with Israel, since the beginning of Israel.

  2. Citizen
    Citizen
    August 4, 2015, 11:09 am

    Burning Palestinian babies is an American affair. The fact that Dick & Jane are unaware of where their tax $ goes to their embraced ignorance.
    Also it goes to Zionist control of the half dozen channels to breaking new in USA.

  3. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    August 4, 2015, 3:06 pm

    As Israeli investigators released their findings that a right-wing Jewish terrorist network is gaining power throughout Israel and illegal West Bank settlements, they detained Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the late Meir Kahane, but declined to charge him with the arson attack Thursday night that burned a baby to death and severely wounded his mother, father and 4-year old brother.

    Ettinger’s arrest came five days after the attack, and is the only one so far, despite eyewitness accounts that at least four men were seen running from the village after setting the house on fire with a firebomb and spraypainting it with racist graffiti.

    As Meir Ettinger was taken into custody, police investigators told reporters from Ha’aretz newspaper that they suspect the involvement of a right-wing network that is based in Yitzhar settlement, in the northern West Bank, and has planned and carried out dozens of terror attacks against Palestinians.

    Whether Meir Ettinger is charged or not, you can be sure there are plenty of radical settlers to take up the slack…..

    https://www.imemc.org/article/72503

  4. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    August 4, 2015, 3:59 pm

    One of the settler ladies by the name of Medad had a opinion piece up at Israel News. In it she claimed that Jewish violence against Palestinians is extremely rare and can never be called terrorism. That’s because the violence is retaliation for something the Arabs did. So if you want to stop these “rare” acts of violence then you need to start punishing Arabs when they attack Jews and to stop coddling them in prison. Did you know that Palestinians in Israeli prisons live cushy lives?

    This is the mind set of these people.

  5. just
    just
    August 4, 2015, 8:52 pm

    “Police on Tuesday issued a highly unusual appeal to the public to come forward with any information that could help identify the perpetrators of Friday’s fatal firebombing in the West Bank in which a Palestinian baby was burned to death.

    “Anyone with any information, any detail, that could help solve the murder is asked to call the hotline,” the Israel Police said in a statement, giving the phone number as 050-838-6626. Bizarrely, the public was invited to call only between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

    A gag order has been imposed on the investigation, and there have been no reports of arrests in connection with the attack.

    The two perpetrators of the firebombing, in which 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha was burned to death in his home early on Friday morning, were reported over the weekend to be right-wing Jewish extremists, possibly from an illegal outpost in the east Shilo area of the West Bank, not far from the Palestinian village of Duma where the attack took place.

    Security sources told Israel’s Channel 10 on Saturday that residents of illegal outposts in that area had “a history” of hostile relations with local Palestinian villages.

    The two assailants were understood to have fled the scene of the crime on foot.

    On Friday evening, Channel 2 reported that there was “the beginning of a lead” in the investigation. According to the report, the assailants were believed to have come from the area of the nearby Esh Kodesh settlement outpost, “but not from Esh Kodesh itself.”…

    … Security officials have warned that a group of Jewish extremists, sometimes referred to as “Hilltop youth,” were responsible for a series of hate-crime attacks in recent years, and that these “rebels” and “anarchists” are bent on undermining the rule of law in Israel.

    The officials said there had been a fall in the number of their attacks of late, but that the attacks themselves were becoming increasingly grave.

    The officials said they were not being hampered by a lack of intelligence as much as by a lack of legal tools to grapple with Jewish suspects. Of five suspects in a June arson attack at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee, they said, three had been indicted, but they did not have the legal tools necessary to hold the other two in detention.

    Other security insiders told The Times of Israel Sunday, however, that the Shin Bet security service did have difficulty obtaining intelligence about Jewish extremist groupings. A Channel 2 report on Friday said that investigations into 15 arson attacks on Palestinian targets since 2008 had yielded no convictions. …”

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-police-pleads-for-publics-help-in-finding-killers-of-palestinian-baby/

    Uh- huh.

  6. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    August 4, 2015, 9:43 pm

    RE: “Ali Dawabsheh, was burnt to death while other family members remain critically injured. Israeli Minister of Defense Ya’lon described the attack as “Jewish terror” and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his “shock and horror” over the attack, also referring to it as “terrorism”. Almost one year ago, 16-year old Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped by Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem and burned alive. Israeli officials made similar statements in response to the murder of Abu Khdeir.” ~ Tahseen Ellayyan

    SEE: “Abu Khdeir murder suspect recounts grisly killing”, by Daniel K. Eisenbud, JPost.com, 8/13/2014

    [EXCERPTS] Chilling testimony from the main suspect in the July 2 murder of 16-year-old east Jerusalem resident Muhammad Abu Khdeir confirmed the brutal homicide was indeed rooted in revenge for the three yeshiva students abducted and killed by Hamas operatives in June. . .

    . . . During his testimony, the alleged ringleader behind the kidnapping and subsequent torture of Abu Khdeir, said he first discussed seeking revenge following the funerals of Gil- Ad Shaer, 16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16.

    “We began talking about what happened, about the kidnapped youths, and decided that they needed to be avenged,” he said in his testimony.

    “I was furious at [the killers] while the entire country was silently praying.”

    According to Ben-David, the three then agreed to go on a “human hunt” for an Arab victim.

    “We planned to hurt a soul, meaning to kill… to torture him and kill him,” he told police, adding that he wanted his victim “to know that he was about to die as a sacrifice [i.e., a human sacrifice – J.L.D.] for the Jews that were murdered.”

    To that end, Ben-David testified that he filled three empty bottles with the gasoline used to burn their victim alive. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Abu-Khdeir-murder-suspect-recounts-grisly-killing-370911

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      August 4, 2015, 9:53 pm

      P.S. RE: “Israeli officials made similar statements (e.g., “shock and horror”) in response to the murder of Abu Khdeir.” ~ Tahseen Ellayyan

      Netanyahu to Abu Khdeir family: “We’ll bring Mohammed’s killers to justice”

    • just
      just
      August 4, 2015, 9:59 pm

      Here’s what was reported just yesterday. Another crime by the uniformed “hunters” and terrorists of the IOF. From Kate’s compilation:

      “Israeli soldiers attack Hebron youth, force to drink gasoline IMEMC/Agencies 3 Aug — Palestinian security sources from Hebron’s Old City, today, said that Israeli soldiers have brutally attacked a Palestinian youth and then forced him to drink gasoline. Sources said, according to the PNN, that soldiers handcuffed Majdi Al-Muhtaseb (21), kidnapped and dragged him to Al-Turba neighborhood, in Tel Rumeida, threw him to the ground and started beating and kicking him for no reason whatsoever. According to Majdi’s family, the soldiers asked him if he wanted water, and, when he said yes, one of them pretended to be helping him to drink water. When he realized that it was gasoline and not water, the soldier forced him to drink out of it. Issam Al-Muhtaseb, father of the youth, said that Israeli forces have detained his son and destroyed his own ID card. Then, they beat him on his back and stomach. After the soldiers let him go, the youth’s father took him to ‘Aalia hospital, in Hebron, where he suffered from severe pains and underwent medical tests. Majdi was moved back to his house, but reportedly still suffers from back pain.” http://www.imemc.org/article/72495 – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/palestinian-condition-following#sthash.2P1PcUM5.dpuf

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        August 4, 2015, 11:22 pm

        RE: “According to Majdi’s family, the soldiers asked him if he wanted water, and, when he said yes, one of them pretended to be helping him to drink water. When he realized that it was gasoline and not water, the soldier forced him to drink out of it.” ~ IMEMC/Agencies

        MY COMMENT: Some Israeli soldiers have a very sick, perverse sense of humor!*

        * SEE:“Jews protect Palestinians in harvest of hate” ~ By Donald Macintyre in Awarta, West Bank, The Independent, 10 Oct 2008
        Israelis cross religious divide to shelter olive farmers from settlers’ attacks

        [EXCERPTS] . . . Born in Tel Aviv, Ms Siew served in the army, took a university degree, then a teacher’s diploma. Thirty-six years ago, she took the tough decision to emigrate to London, telling her parents: “I won’t come back until there’s peace.” Ms Siew, who is now 64, remains an Israeli citizen but now lives with her British husband in Hebden Bridge. She has kept to her word, except that each autumn she comes back to stay in her hometown with her relatives and spends each day of the two-month harvest season picking olives on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank.
        And Ms Siew does that for a purpose. Up on the ridge above us, you can see the red roofs of Itamar, a notably hard-line Jewish settlement, and she is here to help protect the Palestinian farmers from the threat of settler violence which has so often scarred the olive harvests.
        . . . Last year, she was in a group in the South Hebron Hills confronted by settlers who fired shots from a pistol and an M16 assault rifle, despite the presence of the army and police. “Then one of the soldiers said, ‘Look, one of them is coming down with a jug of water for you’. The settler emptied the jug over me. It was full of human shit.” . . .

        ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jews-protect-palestinians-in-harvest-of-hate-956706.html

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 5, 2015, 3:40 pm

        So the Donald trumps the Chocolate Lab! Oh well.

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        August 5, 2015, 8:36 pm

        “The Donald” trumps everything and everyone! ! !
        Trump the GOP!
        Trump the GOP!
        Trump the GOP in 2016!

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