Why Israelis Can Burn Palestinians Alive and Get
Away With It
By Maureen Clare Murphy
September 24, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" -
“I was on the balcony of my home. I heard Saad
screaming, ‘Help me. They’ve killed me,’” explains Ibrahim Dawabsha
in a new short documentary produced by the Palestinian human rights
group Al-Haq (watch
it at the top of this page).
Ibrahim rushed out to find Saad Dawabsha and his
wife, Riham, lying on the ground, their bodies on fire.
A masked figure stood near Saad, and another stood
near his wife.
Ibrahim carried Saad and then Riham away from
their burning home, and then rescued their 4-year-old son Ahmed from
“I took him to my neighbor’s house. The neighbor
told me that there was also another child inside the house. His name
was Ali. I went back to Saad’s home. At that time, the whole house
was on fire.”
While villagers waited for firefighters to arrive,
they tried in vain to rescue baby Ali, who
perished in the fire.
Six hours before the Dawabsha family home was set
ablaze in the occupied West Bank village of Duma on 31 July,
Israel’s Channel 2 aired an exposé on a group of settlers who had
set fire to the historic Church of the Multiplication of Loaves
and Fishes in the Galilee region of present-day Israel.
When they were arrested, Channel 2 reported, the
members of the cell admitted that they had set fire to the church as
well as to homes and mosques in the West Bank. Investigators found a
CD they produced which describes how Arabs can be burned alive:
break the windows of a home, throw flammable material into the rooms
and set fire to the exits.
“This way Arabs are burned to death,” the
After the Dawabsha home was set on fire, the
Israeli military held a press conference outside it.
Al-Haq’s documentary shows an army spokesperson
stating, in Arabic, that Israel promises “to arrest those who did
this and bring them to justice.”
No one knows the emptiness of such promises more
than Hussein Abu Khudair.
His 16-year-old son
Muhammad was abducted from outside his Jerusalem home and burned
alive in June 2014, hours after a right-wing rally in the city
during which protesters chanted “Death
to the Arabs.”
“Those who abducted my son had participated in the
demonstration, which provided moral support for them to kidnap and
set my son Muhammad on fire,” Hussein explains in the documentary.
“For four days, the Israeli police claimed that my
son had been killed on grounds of family disputes,” he adds.
“If it had not been for surveillance cameras that
documented the abduction and the abductors, the Israeli police would
have registered the case against unknown persons.”
“When the judge is your enemy”
The perpetrators of Muhammad’s murder are being
brought to trial. But Hussein doesn’t believe that it will bring
justice for his family.
“The Israeli judiciary is not impartial. When the
judge is your enemy, who can you complain to? The Israeli judiciary
is sympathetic to these criminals.”
Hussein insists that the people who killed his son
should not have been able to commit the crime in the first place.
“The police cooperated with them in spite of the
fact that they should have arrested them before they burned and
killed Muhammad,” he says.
One can only imagine that Saad and Riham Dawabsha
would say the same about those who murdered 18-month-old Ali.
But Saad died of his injuries one week after the
attack, and then Riham succumbed to hers one month later.
Nearly two months since the attack, no one has
been charged in connection with the crime, though the Israeli
knows who did it.
The Israeli army spokesperson’s promise to catch
the Dawabsha family’s killers is cynical enough, given the long
history of settlers attacking Palestinians and their crops, homes
and places of worship without punishment.
But it is also totally insincere, as the army
protects those settlers’ very presence in the West Bank through its
violent occupation that robs Palestinians of their most basic
Israel’s army exists in service to the settlers,
who are a necessary component of the state’s
Why would the army inflict worse punishment on
settlers when its own uniformed soldiers
away with murdering Palestinians at checkpoints, like they did
18-year-old Hadil Salah Hashlamoun on Tuesday?
To believe that a Palestinian family could obtain
justice in Israel’s courts is to completely ignore the reality of
the system and who it is designed to serve.
Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of
The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.
© 2000-2015 electronicIntifada.net