The European Union urged Israel on Friday to take resolute measures to protect the local population and show “zero tolerance” for settler violence following an arson attack in the West Bank that claimed the life of an 18-month-old Palestinian baby on Thursday night and seriously wounded three of his family members.
“The Israeli authorities should … take resolute measures to protect the local population. We call for full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence,” said European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in a statement.
“The cold-blooded killing of Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha, presumably by extremist settlers … highlights the urgent need for a political solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the statement added.
Illegal Jewish settlers were reported to have started a fire late on Thursday night after throwing firebombs into a Palestinian-owned house in the West Bank, killing an 18-month-old Palestinian Ali Saad Dawabsha and seriously wounding three of his family members.
The EU urged for a full and prompt investigation to judge the perpetrators of this terrible crime.
“Acts like this terrible attack can easily lead to a spiral of violence and bring both sides further away from a negotiated solution,” the Mogherini statement said.
“The EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy that seriously threatens the two-state solution.”
Mogherini recently announced that she was working on an idea for an “international support groups” so as to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations after they halted completely last year.
The collapse of talks led to a brief war between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014, which killed over 2,200 Palestinians - mostly civilians. Seventy-two Israelis, mostly soldiers, were also killed.
The United States also condemned the “vicious terrorist attack” on Friday.
The US State Department urged Israel in a statement to “apprehend the murderers” and called on both sides to “avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragic incident.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday described the arson attack in the village of Duma near the northern city of Nablus that killed a Palestinian toddler on Thursday night as a “an act of terrorism in every respect.”
Netanyahu also stated that he was "horrified by this terrible and criminal act. This is a clear-cut terrorist attack. Israel takes a strong hand against terror, no matter who its perpetrators are."
The Israeli Defence Forces is still combing the scene in attempt to catch the perpetrators.
Israel grants permission for new settlements
Earlier in July, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced plans to “legalise” Jewish settlements in the West Bank through the formation of a new committee.
Consequently, plans were then drawn up by the Israeli military to grant building permission for 1,065 settlement units in the West Bank.
According to a report released on July 23 by Israeli settlement watchdog group Peace Now, the plans include building permission for 541 new homes, the “legalisation” of 228 existing homes, and the approval of infrastructure for the construction of a further 296 homes.
Approximately 400,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank in settlements that are largely condemned as being illegal by the international community, which sees settlement building as undermining international efforts to reach a two-state solution, thus causing even greater tensions between the two sides.