Jewish settlers set ablaze home of witness to arson that killed Palestinian family

AFP , Sunday 20 Mar 2016

Fire broke out
Fire broke out on Sunday in the home of a key witness to an arson attack by Jewish extremists that killed a Palestinian family last year but he survived. (Photo courtesy of Maan news agency)

Fire broke out on Sunday in the home of a key witness to an arson attack by Jewish extremists that killed a Palestinian family last year but he survived, police and residents said.

The home of Ibrahim Dawabsha is located in Duma in the occupied West Bank, the same village where a July firebombing killed an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents.

Israeli occupation authorities were investigating the cause of the fire.

Dawabsha and his wife were awakened overnight by thick smoke, residents said. Dawabsha, a relative of the family killed in the July attack, was hospitalised for smoke inhalation, police said.

It was the latest incident in an almost six-month long surge of Israeli-on-Palestinian deadly repression met with violent responses by Palestinians against settlers and Israeli soldiers.

The current wave of protests by Palestinians and repression by Israeli occupation forces started in late July when toddler Ali Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.

The recent surge in violence has raised concern of wider escalation, a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.

Residents reported that a window was broken in the house, raising suspicions that Molotov cocktails were thrown inside -- as occurred in the July firebombing.

Those details had not been confirmed by the Israeli occupation authorities.

"All leads will be investigated," Israeli occupation police said.

The July 31 attack on a family home in the village killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha and fatally wounded his parents.

Five-year-old Ahmed was the sole survivor from the immediate family.

After spending months in hospital, he was flown to Spain last week to meet Real Madrid stars, including his hero Cristiano Ronaldo.

In January, a court charged two Israelis over the firebombing after slow progress in the case led to criticism from human rights groups and Palestinians.

The attack sparked global condemnation and drew renewed attention to Jewish extremism, including accusations Israel had not done enough to prevent such violence.

Settlement-building, racial discrimination, confiscation of identity cards, long queues at checkpoints, as well as daily clashes and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, describe Palestinians' daily suffering.

The anger of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem has increased in the last three years after the Israeli authorities allowed increasing numbers of Jewish settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The surge in violence has been fuelled by Palestinians' frustration over Israel's 48-year occupation of land they seek for an independent state, and the expansion of settlements in those territories which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Palestinian leaders say a younger generation sees no hope for the future living under Israeli security restrictions and with a stifled economy. The latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April 2014.

*The story has been edited by Ahram Online.

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