Palestinians mourn death of toddler's father, urging to punish criminals

Palestinians mourn death of toddler's father, urging to punish criminals

Documentation of a Palestinian checked a burned UN school's class room in Biet Hanoun, Gaza Stripe, last February. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

Ramallah (ANTARA News) - Palestinians mourned on Saturday the death of Dawabsha, father of the toddler killed in a Jewish settlers' arson attack last week, and called on to bring those responsible to justice.

"Our people, factions, municipalities and popular organizations all over the West Bank should form the guarding committees" to prevent from the similar attacks, said Ahmed Assaf, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party in the West Bank.

On July 31, a group of unknown Israeli settlers set fire to the house of Dawabshes family in the village of Duma near Nablus. The fire burned all the house, killing 18-month old Ali Dawabsheh and critically wounded the father Saed, the mother Reham and the son Ahmed, four years old.

Ghassan Daghlas, Palestinian official in charge of file settlements in the West Bank, said earlier on Saturday that another group of Israeli settlers tried to burn another house in the village of Arab Kanana near Duma by throwing fire bottles into the house.

"The residents immediately managed to put out the fire, rescued the family who lives there and chased the assailants who succeeded to run away," said Daghlas.

Palestinian Health Minister Jawad Awad said in a press statement that such crimes are unforgivable and the criminals must be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Husam Badran, Hamas spokesman, said in an emailed press statement that the endless attacks on the Palestinians and the death of the toddlers father "should bring all the Palestinians to a comprehensive confrontation with the Israeli occupation."

He said in the statement that "the only way to stop those murdering settlers and their daily crimes is to attack them everywhere."

"The criminal and terrorist settlers can only be stopped by carrying attacks on them and their properties instead of just waiting for them to come attack our houses and kill our children," said the Hamas spokesman, adding "armed resistance in the West Bank against the occupation has become a legitimate right."

Hamas also said in a separate leaflet sent to reporters that the "brave armed resistance in the West Bank is preparing for a retaliation to the crime of killing the toddler and his father. Their death will urge the Palestinian resistance to carry out painful attacks and revenge for the blood of the martyrs."

The Jewish arson attacks on Palestinian houses, mosques and properties were largely condemned by the international community. Countries, organizations and rights groups called on Israel to put an end to these attacks that may drag the region into endless violence.

Nikolai Miladinov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, on Saturday called for bringing those who committed the crime of the arson attack on Dawabsha family to justice. In a press statement, he expresses deep sadness for the death of the toddlers father.

"In spite of the good medical care the father received in the hospital, he died of his wounds. Our prayers for the 4-year-old child and his mother who are still in critical condition," said Miladinov. He also urged all parties to try to control the situation and prevent any upcoming escalation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas commissioned last week Foreign Minister Reyad al-Malki to handle the file of the Jewish arson attack on Dawabshas home, and the minister has submitted the file to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, of which Palestine is an official member.

In Israel, the government, following the attack, has vowed to step up its efforts to crack down on Jewish extremists who have been suspected of staging a string of violent attacks on civilian and religious sites over the past years.

Israeli officials of all stripes harshly condemned the incident. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said directly after the attack that he was "shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act. This is an act of terrorism in every respect."

Police in the Jewish state have called violence against Palestinians "Price Tag" attacks -- taking the name from the perpetrators themselves. Often they would spray paint the words "price tag" on their targets -- mosques, churches, cars and homes of Palestinians. The Jewish assailants claim Israeli authorities are lax toward Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israelis.

In a statement released after the attacks, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that authorities had not done enough to combat years of violence.