Palestinian mother injured in arson attack dies

Reham Dawabsheh’s toddler son, husband had died after firebombing of their West Bank home allegedly by Jewish settlers.

Palestinian officials want the ICC to probe the deadly July 31 firebombing and 'settler terrorism' [AFP]

The mother of an 18-month-old Palestinian baby burned to death in an arson attack in the occupied West Bank, has herself died from injuries sustained during the attack.

Reham Dawabsheh, 26, who died on Sunday night in an Israeli hospital, had suffered third-degree burns to at least 80 percent of her body in the July 31 firebombing.

Israeli settlers are accused of throwing flammable liquids and Molotov cocktails inside two homes in the village of Duma in that incident.

Saad, Dawabsheh’s husband, died from his injuries eight days after the attack while four-year-old Ali, another son of the couple, is still in hospital.

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Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said he was “saddened” by Dawabsheh’s death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and especially with little Ahmed, now orphaned due to this heinous act.

“I reiterate and strengthen my earlier call for justice… I am nevertheless concerned by the lack of progress in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of this outrage.

“The tragedy of the Dawabsheh family serves as a shocking example of the destructive nature of
extremism,” Mladenov said.

Several suspects have been arrested after the Dawabsheh family’s home was targeted, killing Ali Dawabsheh, Reham’s toddler son, and prompting anger among the Palestinian community.

“Reham Dawabsheh died in the night,” a spokesperson for the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv said, where she was admitted with burns covering 80 percent of her body.

Anwar Dawabsheh, a family member, confirmed he had been informed of Reham’s death and said the funeral would be held on Monday in Duma.

Stabbing attack

The Israelis are expected to return Reham’s body to the Palestinian authorities to a checkpoint at the entrance to the West Bank, from where it will be taken to Duma.

The family’s small brick-and-cement home was destroyed by the fire and a Jewish Star of David spray-painted on a wall along with the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah”.

The bombing came only hours after a stabbing attack at a Jerusalem Gay Pride march that killed a 16-year-old girl and wounded five other people.

The family's small brick-and-cement home was destroyed by the fire and a Jewish Star of David spray-painted on a wall
The family’s small brick-and-cement home was destroyed by the fire and a Jewish Star of David spray-painted on a wall

While the attacks were not related, both have led to criticism of Israel’s government and security forces, who have been accused of failing to tackle Jewish violence.

Last month, thousands of mourners, many waving Palestinian flags, turned out to lay Saad Dawabsheh to rest in an emotional ceremony that later erupted into clashes with Israeli border police.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, has pledged to tackle the issue and labelled the firebombing “terrorism” – a word usually reserved by Israelis for violence by Palestinians.

The Palestinian foreign ministry in the West Bank city of Ramallah said it had submitted a request to the Hague-based International Criminal Court to probe the firebombing and “settler terrorism”.

‘Price-tag’ attacks

There has been a series of nationalist hate crimes, known as “price-tag” attacks, by suspected Jewish settlers.

Such groups have warned in the past there would be a price to pay for any action by Israeli authorities they regard as hostile to the Jewish settlement movement or to far-right religious beliefs.


Last month, a tent was torched and Hebrew-language graffiti sprayed in a bedouin village in the West Bank in what residents and a nongovernmental organisation said was another suspected attack by Jewish settlers.

The village is near an illegal Jewish settlement outpost where police detained several people in raids linked to the July firebombing, before later releasing them.

The graffiti, which read “administrative revenge” seemed to refer to the internment without charge – known as administrative detention – of three alleged Jewish activists after the July 31 arson attack.

The suspects have not been publicly accused of the Duma firebombing, but of unspecified links to a “Jewish extremist organisation”.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies