Israeli security forces are bracing for an escalation of violence from the West Bank after the death Saturday of Saad Dawabsha from injuries sustained in the firebombing of his home July 31 in which his 18-month-old son Ali was burned to death.
Dawabsha’s funeral Saturday was attended by thousands, and marked by calls for “revenge” and declarations that “a million martyrs are marching on Jerusalem.” Israeli security officials believe the firebombing of the Dawabsha home in Duma, south of Nablus, was carried out by Jewish terrorists. There have been some reports that the assailants came from nearby settlement outposts, but a gag order has been imposed on the investigation.
Fatah and Hamas flags flew at the funeral. Israeli security officials said Hamas was pushing hard for an intensification of terror attacks on Israeli targets in the West Bank and inside Israel. Israel’s Channel 2 quoted West Bank Hamas leader Hassan Yousef declaring Saturday that the time had come for “a third Intifada.” The TV report said Saad Dawabsha was a Hamas supporter.
Israel has boosted its military deployment in the West Bank since the firebombing attack. In the wake of Saad’s funeral Saturday, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at IDF soldiers and lit tires on fire near Duma. Military forces responded with riot-dispersal means. Forces remained on alert for further clashes.
In another incident linked to the Dawabsha killing, three Israeli soldiers were wounded — two of them seriously — when a Palestinian terrorist plowed his car into them not far from Duma on Thursday afternoon. The two soldiers were still in serious condition in the hospital Saturday.
Speaking at the funeral, Dawabsha’s brother Nasser criticized Israel for not making any arrests connected to the attack. Israel “could have prevented this crime. Eight days have passed since the attack and those responsible are still free,” he noted bitterly.
Riham Dawabsha, Ali’s mother, is still fighting for her life in Tel Hashomer hospital, doctors said Saturday.
Israeli security officials said they feared a further escalation of tension if she too succumbs to the injuries she sustained in the attack.
Ali’s 4-year-old brother Ahmad, however, is no longer in life-threatening danger. Doctors said they removed the respirator to which he had been attached for the previous week and that Ahmed had opened his eyes and recognized those around him.
In a statement Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “deep sorrow” at the death of Saad Dawabsha. He said he had followed through on his promise to give the security services “all the tools they need to catch the killers and bring them to justice,” and referred to the government’s decision this week to allow detention without trial of Jewish terror suspects. “We will not be reconciled to terror of any kind,” he said.
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is set to issue further administrative detention orders for Jewish terror suspects, Channel 2 said, following the arrest without trial of one such suspect earlier this week.
The Dawabsha funeral procession set out from Nablus hospital, where Dawabsha’s body was brought earlier in the day. Dawabsha’s family insisted that Palestinian doctors, not Israelis, carry out the post-mortem, so as to ensure “no manipulation,” Saad’s brother said. The Palestinian Authority has said it will include the Duma firebombing in evidence it is bringing to the International Criminal Court in The Hague against Israel.