Israelis protest hate crime after arson of Palestinian baby

Thousands of Israelis attend rallies in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem after hate crimes of Gay Pride march stabbings and arson attack in occupied West Bank

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protesters hold signs during a protest condemning Friday's arson attack in the West Bank

Thousands of Israelis held protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem against hate crimes over the recent Gay Pride march stabbings and arson attack which killed a Palestinian baby boy in the West Bank and left three members of his family fighting for their lives in the hospital.

The burning of the family's home in the West Bank, which killed 18-month-old, Ali Saad Dawabsheh on Friday, spurred international protests against violence by the hardline Jewish settlers, that Israel fails to stop.

Around 2,000 people marched on Saturday in Tel Aviv, including an uncle of the deceased child. The rally was organised by the Peace Now settlement watchdog.

"We call on the government to take strong action against the violence of the settlers and to restart immediately the peace process," Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer told the AFP news agency.

According to Al Jazeera, the three family members of the baby - his father, mother and four-year-old brother - are all in critical condition. His mother Reham is in life threatening-condition, which has worsened since Friday.The child’s father, Saad, was treated for third-degree burns in the Soroka Hospital in southern Israel on Saturday. The mother and brother, Ahmad, are in Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv. 

Hundreds of people gathered in Jerusalem to protest both the West Bank arson as well as an attack which took place on Thursday, when a Jewish man stabbed six participants of a Gay Pride march.

Furthermore, in other Israeli cities, anti-intolerance rallies were held on Saturday night.

In Duma, the boy's village, around 200 Palestinians rallied on Saturday protested the death of the child, leading to a confrontation with the Israeli forces.  

Several protesters were treated for injuries from rubber bullets and tear gas, according to Al Jazeera.

Hundreds of Gazans held a candlelight vigil and mock funeral for Dawabsheh on Saturday evening.

On Saturday, a delegation of senior Palestinian officials, including Palestine Liberation Organisation Secretary General Saeb Erakat, Palestinian Authority security head Majed Faraj and Health Minister Jawad Awwad visited the Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Erakat, who is also chief negotiator for peace talks with Israel, reiterated that the Israeli government carried full responsibility for the attack on the family.

Israel to detain suspects

The Israeli government has said it will detain suspects believed to be linked to violent attacks on Palestinian civilians following the deadly arson attack in the West Bank, killing an innocent baby and hospitalising his family.

The practice of "administration detention," which often sees suspected Palestinian militants detained without trial, will also be extended to ultra-nationalist Jewish militants, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon’s spokesman said on Sunday. 

Such measures often include the detention of suspects for months in cases where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute an individual, but it is deemed releasing the detainee could lead to further violence or the identification of undercover informers.

Currently there are 5,442 Palestinians being held under such circumstances, while the Jewish militants who attacked the family in Duma are still at large.

"As always, each case of administrative detention will have to be approved by the courts, but by invoking this the minister is taking action consistent with his effort to exact the full measure of the law against these people," Yaalon’s spokesman said.

Israeli Justice Ministry and Shin Bet security officials said they were aware of such plans, Reuters reported.

TRTWorld and agencies