Israel: No proof to try 'terrorists' for arson attack

Defence minister says "Jewish terrorists" carried out arson attack that killed three Palestinians - but no evidence.

    Three members of the Dawabsheh family died in July after their home was firebombed [Atef Safadi/EPA]
    Three members of the Dawabsheh family died in July after their home was firebombed [Atef Safadi/EPA]

    Israel's defence minister said on Tuesday there was not enough evidence to prosecute the suspects in a deadly arson attack on a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank in July.

    Moshe Yaalon told army radio he considered the firebomb attack in the village of Duma - which killed a toddler and his parents and left another child severely burned - a "Jewish terrorist act".

    READ MORE: West Bank arson attack - 'My heart is burned'

    He added, however, evidence was still lacking nearly five months after the July 31 firebombing, despite the recent arrests of suspects in the case.

    "We know who is responsible for this terrorist act, but do not have enough proof yet to try them," Yaalon said.

    Israel has come under heavy pressure to try those responsible for the deadly firebombing, with rights groups questioning the slow pace of investigations and contrasting it to the swift reaction often following alleged Palestinian attacks.

    On December 3, Israeli authorities said they had arrested a number of Jewish suspects over the attack.

    They have not been publicly identified and there has been no indication they have been charged.

    "Indictments are a rarity when Israeli soldiers or settlers resort to violence against Palestinians and investigations can last for years before being closed, absolving perpetrators of any wrongdoing," Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer at Defence for Children International - Palestine, told Al Jazeera after the arrests.

    Burned to death

    Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh and his parents were killed in the attacks. The couple's four-year-old son was the sole survivor.

    A Star of David and the words "revenge" and "long live the Messiah" in Hebrew were spray-painted on a wall near the family's small house.

    The attack drew renewed attention to Jewish extremism and accusations that Israel had not done enough to prevent such violence.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And AFP


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