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Israeli defense minister says government knows who was behind Duma attack, but won’t prosecute

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Six weeks after settlers torched a Palestinian home in the West Bank hamlet of Duma killing three—Ali Dawabshe, 18-months, Sa’ad Dawabshe, 32, and Riham Dawabshe, 27—no one has been charged for the crime. Now, Israel’s defense minister says he knows who is behind the arson attack but is refusing to indict, because doing so could expose government intelligence sources.

“We know who is behind the killing of the Dawabshe family, but we will not prosecute,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Wednesday at an event for the Likud youth movement, a wing of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political party. Ya’alon went on, he feared a trial could “reveal the intelligence sources” who investigated the criminal parties.

The following day Ya’alon confirmed he knew who was responsible for the attack, when speaking to Israel’s military reporter.

”The perpetrators of the Duma attack are known to the Israeli security services and some are locked up,” AFP reported Ya’alon said after the meeting, ”We have not brought charges for the time being so as not to divulge our sources, but we are continuing our efforts to bring them to justice.”

Oddly, most leaders in the Israeli government did not respond to Ya’alon’s statement–the Duma attack is the most high profile case of settler violence against Palestinians in two decades. Even so, the revelation of heel-dragging sent shockwaves through the Joint Arab List, Israel’s third largest faction.

“Ya’alon’s statement reveals the system’s tolerant attitude towards settlers’ terror, thus authorizing the next murder. Ya’alon and the system he is heading are fully responsible for the atrocious murder of the Dawabshe family and for the ongoing settlers’ terror against Palestinians,”Knesset member  Aida Touma-Sliman said yesterday.

A spokesperson for Ya’alon was reached for comment. He directed Mondoweiss to an interview the defense minister gave yesterday to the Israeli daily Walla.

“Unfortunately we are convinced that Jews did the Duma attack,” Ya’alon told Walla, painting a grave picture of the possibility of further acts of settler violence, “It’s a radical group who wants to start problems on the ground and hurt many people. It’s way beyond the price tag events that we have encountered.”

When asked directly about the three Israelis held in administrative detention, arrest without charge, Ya’alon was vague. “Let’s wait and see,” he said to Walla, adding “We have estimates about who carried out the attacks, and so we have taken steps.”

On July 31st arsonists firebombed the Dawabshe home as the family slept, burning two apartments. Eighteen-month old Ali Dawabshe died in the attack. Weeks later his father Sa’ad Dawabshe succumbed to wounds, and days ago his wife Riham died as well. Sa’ad Dawabshe was a construction worker and built homes in Israel’s West Bank settlements. Riham was a math teacher at a girls school. The family is survived by their four-year old son Ahmad Dawabshe who is hospitalized in Israel where he is being treated for second degree burns on 60% of his body.

Follwing the Duma attack Ya’alon announced Israel would employ emergency powers to detain without charge those involved in the attack. Three suspects remain in police custody, while nine were detained and later released. An additional 10 were issued restricted movement orders with some under house arrests and others barred from entering the West Bank.

Of the three imprisoned–Meir Ettinger, Evyatar Slonim and Mordechai Meir–Israel has not indicated if they are being held for the Duma attack, or involvement in related violent crimes against Palestinians.

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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27 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    a blah chick on September 11, 2015, 11:17 am

    “It’s a radical group who wants to start problems on the ground and hurt many people.” That’s the IDF’s job, no need for civilians to get involved.

    On his website Silverstein alleges that one of the assailants was in fact a shin bet informant who might have encouraged the attack. If true then protecting the murderers is a way for higher ups to cover their asses because in my personal conspiracy theory the people involved are too well connected to be arrested. Exposing them would implicate or embarrass influential people (be they settlers or police/security personal). If the attackers were “nobodies” or “outliers” why not just prosecute them in some nice long trial that gives the appearence of justice. The Abu Khdeir trial is still in session so it’s not like “Justice” need be swift. All you need is some performance piece that provides the hasbarists with an example of how Israel does not coddle Jewish terrorism. Since there is no pressure coming from either the Jewish public or supporters abroad they can take as long as they like.

    I could be wrong but I think a lot of unauthorized phone calls got answered after that awful night.

  2. CigarGod
    CigarGod on September 11, 2015, 11:26 am

    “…way beyond the price-tag attacks we have encountered.”

    And what?
    Done nothing about, encouraged, turned a blind eye to, justified, treated differently because they were Israei’s?

    What did he leave unsaid?

    • mariapalestina
      mariapalestina on September 12, 2015, 2:01 pm

      Not because they were Israelis. Because they were Jewish Israelis. Palestinian Israelis get no such immunity.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod on September 12, 2015, 6:21 pm

        Good catch.

  3. annie
    annie on September 11, 2015, 11:38 am

    Ben-Zion Gopstein

  4. Mooser
    Mooser on September 11, 2015, 11:43 am

    “Ya’alon went on, he feared a trial could “reveal the intelligence sources” “

    And then, you see, the IDF won’t know where not to go on certain nights, what not to see, stuff like that.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick on September 11, 2015, 1:00 pm

      If only Whitey Bulger had been Jewish he could have gone to the West Bank and cleaned up. The shin bet is better at running this sort of interference than the FBI.

    • gingershot
      gingershot on September 11, 2015, 1:08 pm

      “Ya’alon went on, he feared a trial could “reveal the intelligence sources”

      Ya’alon could have added at this point – ‘And because it would topple Bibi’s government’

  5. Mondowise
    Mondowise on September 11, 2015, 12:02 pm

    so these criminal intel informants will obviously be let go after lots of bullshit rhetoric and fake punitive/disciplinary actions that never happen in reality. and since their identities will never be disclosed, higher ups don’t even need to threaten them with “never do this again, or else…”

    …and of course, they WILL do this again, probably sooner than later….only for the IDF to repeat the above.

    and the cycle of this heinous criminal violence against Palestinians continues in perpetuity…

    meanwhile….the international community will indeed see clearly how iZrael encourages and protects their own terrorists. this new bit of INjustice is still fresh, so the question, i believe, still remains: what, if anything, will the world say or do now? (it’s a rhetorical question…)

  6. diasp0ra
    diasp0ra on September 11, 2015, 12:48 pm

    This is such a mockery of anything resembling justice. What was I expecting anyway, when the judge is the defendant?

  7. Kay24
    Kay24 on September 11, 2015, 12:55 pm

    Translation: Our terrorists are beloved, we will not put them through any stress making arrests, and throwing them into our dungeons. That is for the Palestinian children.
    We are entitled to steal, burn, attack, throw stones, mow the lawn, and send precision bombs into homes, when we like it. We do not punish our terrorists who kill babies, we honor them by never arresting them, and protecting them….no questions taken.

    • affinity292
      affinity292 on September 11, 2015, 4:46 pm

      I don’t think that is very fair. If you want to compare and contrast…

      The Israeli and Jewish public, the Israeli govt, and media all came out and condemned the act. Rabbis not only publicly condemned it, they took out a full page ad in the paper and condemned it and explained that it is evil.

      The Palestinian Authority and Hamas routinely PRAISE and celebrate those who kill Jewish or Israeli civilians.

      They pay about 6% of their monthly budget as “pensions” to terrorists who have killed Israeli civilians.

      They name schools after them as well as sports stadiums, little league teams and government buildings. And these are not people who engaged in terrorism and who later accomplished something else e.g., Arafat. This is people whose ONLY claim to fame is killing civilians. They never did anything notable before or after.

      One PA minister bragged that about 70% of all terrorist attacks at one point were actually done by PA security forces.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on September 11, 2015, 8:25 pm

        “Rabbis not only publicly condemned it, they took out a full page ad in the paper and condemned it and explained that it is evil.”

        Which Rabbis? A bunch of far-leftist liberal Rabbi’s who’s only hope is to see the Jewish State torn to flinders? I know which Rabbi’s to listen to, and they have explained why the act is far, far from “evil”.

        Or are you one of those people who likes being bitten by “snakes”?

      • italian ex-pat
        italian ex-pat on September 11, 2015, 9:33 pm

        @ affinity292

        You seem to believe that just condemning the arson attack is more than sufficient to exonerate the Israeli public and government from all feelings of guilt. Ever hear the expression ‘words are cheap’? And who cares if they don’t name streets after Israeli terrorists (and don’t tell me there aren’t any) – they do worse than that, they elect them to high office. So tell me, would it have been good enough for you, and would the Israeli public have been satisfied, if the PA had loudly condemned the kidnapping and murder of the 3 young Israelis last year, willing to let it go at that? Actually, I recall the suspects being shot to death and their homes blown up. So much for settling for public expressions of regret and condemnation.

        I’m sure all the hand wringing from Netanyahu & Co. is of little comfort to the Dawabshe family, whereas the arrest and prosecution of the murderers might bring at least some feeling of closure in seeing justice done. And now, hearing that those murderers cannot even be exposed for the sake of protecting ‘intelligence sources’, it must feel like salt on the wound. What does it mean anyway, that there are undercover agents among the settlers, to monitor their activities? What’s the point, if their discoveries must remain secret? Am I missing something here?

      • talknic
        talknic on September 11, 2015, 10:19 pm

        @ affinity292 ” If you want to compare and contrast…”

        I wouldn’t go there if I was you

        “The Israeli and Jewish public, the Israeli govt, and media all came out and condemned the act. Rabbis not only publicly condemned it, they took out a full page ad in the paper and condemned it and explained that it is evil.”

        So where are their full page ads demanding trials/justice?

        “The Palestinian Authority and Hamas routinely PRAISE and celebrate those who kill Jewish or Israeli civilians”

        Sources please, the unsubstantiated mutterings of an apologist for Israel simply doesn’ t make the grade

        Here’s an example of a source.

        “They pay about 6% of their monthly budget as “pensions” to terrorists who have killed Israeli civilians”

        Sources for your ‘who have killed Israeli civilians’ please, because there are a LOT of Palestinians in Israeli gaols who have not been convicted of killing anyone. BTW It’s normal of militaries to be payed while they’re imprisoned by the enemy in support of their families. Especially when the family is subjected to collective punishment by having their home destroyed

        “They name schools after them as well as sports stadiums, little league teams and government buildings”

        Israeli ditto and its founding terrorists became state leaders

        “One PA minister bragged that about 70% of all terrorist attacks at one point were actually done by PA security forces”

        Again, sources please

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on September 11, 2015, 10:32 pm

        Israeli leaders have a great talent for saying one thing, and by actions showing they don’t mean it at all. IF they were sincere in their condemnation, the Jewish terrorists would have been arrested and charged by now. Usually those who commit crimes against Palestinians are given token sentences, and let out easily. Meanwhile Palestinian kids in their hundreds languish in Israeli jails, being abused and ill treated. They are also without legal representation and unable to see their families. There are many instances where innocent Palestinians have been killed by the IDF, including the time of the Nakba anniversary when 2 kids were killed by an IDF thug by sniper. Did he have to face criminal charges? Israel also demolishes homes of any Palestinian suspect and arrests hundreds for what one may do, have you heard of any of the homes of Israelis being flattened for their crimes against the Palestinians? There is an obvious double standard here.

        Don’t you think being under occupation, having your lands stolen, blockaded, going through checkpoints, and having your olive trees destroyed warrants some kind of dislike for the occupier, and will result in retaliation? What else do you expect when you have to live in
        open prisons for decades?

        So what do you think of the “love” shown by some Israelis towards Arabs in this video?

      • eljay
        eljay on September 11, 2015, 10:32 pm

        || affinity292: … The Israeli and Jewish public, the Israeli govt, and media all came out and condemned the act. Rabbis not only publicly condemned it, they took out a full page ad in the paper and condemned it and explained that it is evil.

        The Palestinian Authority and Hamas routinely PRAISE and celebrate those who kill Jewish or Israeli civilians. … ||

        1. “Israeli and Jewish public” – the Israeli public includes Jewish Israelis and non-Jewish Israelis. Why are you anti-Semitically singling out Jews?

        2. Did everyone in Israel – the public, the government and media – really “all came out and condemned the act”? Every single citizen, government official and news outlet? Really?

        3. What does every person in Israel “routinely” do? Since the PA and Hamas “routinely” do certain things, I’m curious to know what every person in Israel “routinely” does when, say, their government and military collaborate to oppress, torture and/or kill Palestinians who protest its on-going occupation and colonization of Palestine.

      • Rashers2
        Rashers2 on September 12, 2015, 8:19 am

        italian ex-pat, “And who cares if they don’t name streets after Israeli terrorists…” No, they just name airports after them.

    • Hajja Romi
      Hajja Romi on September 16, 2015, 9:44 pm

      Folks, These weasel words are not meant for you and me and ordinary folk who express their opinions on blogs like Mondoweiss (well, maybe they are meant for “Affinity 292”). After all, we are the “little people,” as Zionist Leona Helmsley would say.
      No, no. We are just the stupid American taxpayers. These words are meant to soothe any consciences that might still put in a fleeting appearance on Capitol Hill, and so that if any of us has the temerity, or the stupid faith in our “democracy” to write our Congressman about why our taxes go to the genocidal Zionist state, we can get back a nice letter reassuring us that its all being looked into and taken care of.
      Feel better now?
      After all, that poor kid in Texas who built a clock and got arrested was a Muslim.
      Can’t be too careful, that.

  8. edwardm
    edwardm on September 11, 2015, 12:58 pm

    defendant, judge jury and executioner – all 1 and the same.
    PS
    Great timing on this announcement – 911. No coincidence there I’m sure.

  9. John O
    John O on September 11, 2015, 2:05 pm

    This is just bizarre. Let’s face it – the LAST thing you do is reveal you have an informant inside the targeted group.

    ”The perpetrators of the Duma attack are known to the Israeli security services and some are locked up” …

    Why only some?

    On a wider scale, it seems the Israeli government’s writ simply does not run in squatterland – it’s anarchy in the West Bank.

  10. a blah chick
    a blah chick on September 11, 2015, 2:06 pm

    I hope he doesn’t but this was a comment posted at 972mag in response to their article on the Duma killings. I thought it a nice summation of the farce.

    Bryan George Bishop
    Fanatical (and probably mentally unbalanced) Israeli settlers commit heinous murders, and the crime receives widespread international attention (probably because it coincided with the murder of an LGTB demonstrator by a clearly deranged repeat offender). A potential PR disaster – for here are Israelis delegitimising the Jewish state. Netanyahu promptly reponds – saying all the right words (“I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act. This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are. I have ordered the security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith.”) Then normal service is resumed, with the scales of justice as crooked as ever (immediate retribution, including cold-blooded execution and the collective punishment of entire communities for alleged Palestinian crimes; obfuscation, dissimulation, cover-ups and often outright impunity for alleged Israeli crimes. Where on the spectrum between rogue state and normalcy does Netanyahustan lie? Politicians like Ya’alon have given us a clear answer.

    • Rashers2
      Rashers2 on September 13, 2015, 4:51 am

      Good quote from BGB/+972, there. “Normal[ity]” is no longer a concept understood in the same way within the “Zio-bubble” as it is understood outside it. Moshe Ya’alon REPRESENTS the “new normal” in Ziotania. It is a very sick society although untroubled by its illness, which it doesn’t realise has now taken firm root, like a lymphatic cancer, throughout its system. Let’s hope that a treatment short of radiation therapy can be found.
      Am I, btw, missing something or are the most recent round of outrages in the OWB and the seemingly inept/inadequate/manifestly one-sided responses from the GoI expressly DESIGNED to spur a renewed Intifada? This morning, I caught a “ghosting” headline that the IOF had again invaded the Dome of the Rock in occupied East Jerusalem, in response to “stone throwers” (not my parentheses) – can’t yet find a full report. The coincidence this year of Yom Kippur and Eid Al-Adha may offer further ammunition to the ultra-Orthodox and the IOF in Jerusalem for gratuitous provocation……

  11. amigo
    amigo on September 11, 2015, 3:14 pm

    The zionist goal is and has always been to create the so called greater Israel.This is not conjecture.Until very recently , such claims were restricted to what were perceived as, far right radical zioniist wackos.That has changed since Israel,s Jews have moved ever closer the outer fringes of the right and their leaders in ever larger numbers are expressing openly their commitment to achieving this goal. We read their statements everyday on a variety of media.

    The illegal squatter community are the vanguard , ( imo human shields) in this goal and will be protected at any cost.They take their cues from Hq in TA and in return for operational success, they are given military protection and financial support .Whoever did this is being protected by Israel,s leaders whose short and curl,y,s are firmly in the grip of the illegal squatters.They both know who is in control.Netandyahu does not want to end up like Rabin so he does what he is told.

    The upside to this , is that it will bring the house down on their collective heads.

  12. Shingo
    Shingo on September 11, 2015, 3:46 pm

    I’m sure they any minute now, Hop will comment about his disgust at the Israeli government for covering up this act of terrorism.

  13. JohndeClefPineiro
    JohndeClefPineiro on September 12, 2015, 1:18 pm

    There can be no justice without bringing to justice those who perpetrate injustice.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on September 12, 2015, 6:55 pm

      So called justice is meted out only for Palestinians – from little babies to adults.

      The Jewish terrorists always gets off with a wink and a nod.

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