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Israel hiding killers who burned Palestinian family alive, minister reveals

posted on: Sep 10, 2015

That was the day after Riham Dawabsha died of injuries from the horrific firebombing of her family home that killed her son, 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha, in the occupied West Bank village of Duma.

The boy’s father, Saad, died of his injuries in August, leaving Ali’s badly burned 4-year-old brother Ahmed as the sole survivor.

Israel’s conduct turned out to be depressingly predictable.

Haaretz reports today that, according to Israel’s defense minister Moshe Yaalon, “Israel’s defense establishment knows who is responsible for the arson attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family two months ago, but has chosen to prevent legal recourse in order to protect the identity of their sources.”

Yaalon reportedly told a closed meeting of activists from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party that three Jewish suspects were put under administrative detention following the attack.

Witnesses had seen the attackers flee to the nearby Israeli settlement of Maaleh Efraim after the Dawabsha home was set on fire.

Three Jewish settlers, Meir Ettinger, Mordechai Meyer and Eviatar Slonim, have been held without charge since the attack for allegedly plotting and carrying out other violent attacks against Palestinians. But it is unknown if any of them are among the three referred to by Yaalon.

Following the attack on the Dawabsha family and intense international condemnation, Netanyahu vowed to find the killers.

But he did not order the army to go on the sort of destructive rampage meted out against Palestinians after the June 2014 abduction and killing of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank.

In that case, Israel carried out the extrajudicial murders of two Palestinians it claimed were behind the abductions and the collective punishment of their families by destroying their homes.

Who are they protecting?
Yaalon’s reported excuse, that Israeli authorities had not announced the arrest of the suspects in the Dawabsha murders to “protect the identity of their sources,” makes little sense.

Why would “sources” who had helped apprehend alleged murderers need protection, and from whom? And why couldn’t Israel with its mighty army and all-knowing “security” services provide it?

If the “sources” are from Shin Bet, Israel’s internal spy agency, why could they not testify anonymously as they have frequently done against Palestinians? And even if Israel is worried about their identities being exposed, why is that more important than the lives of Palestinians?

Yaalon’s revelation looks like yet another example of the systematic impunity Israeli soldiers and settlers are granted for attacks on Palestinians.

It would also not be the first time settlers have gotten away with burning Palestinians alive.

The settlers, just like the army, are an extension of the Israeli settler-colonial state that always protects its own and that glorifies the terrorists and ethnic cleansers who established it.