Hussein Dawabsha, whose grandson Ali Dawabsha was burned to death in an alleged Jewish terrorist attack in the Palestinian village of Duma on Friday, said he hoped his grandson was the “last victim of this terror war.”
In a column Sunday for the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Dawabsha described how his wife chose to sleep on the roof Thursday night because of the heat. In the middle of the night, she noticed their daughter’s residence some distance away was in flames.
“She woke me up screaming,” he wrote. “I told myself, this cannot be happening.
“I jumped in the car and raced over there. I refused to believe it. When I got there, I was met with a scene I will never forget: the house was totally burned, there was soot everywhere, and the stench was terrible. I went crazy… I sat on the floor and sobbed. My family is gone.”
Dawabsha said the doctors informed him that Ali “probably cried and screamed from pain — but no one could save him.
“The fire got him as his mother carried him on her back, and he was burned alive,” he wrote.
Dawabsha’s son, Ali’s uncle, said Saturday that the baby’s mother Riham grabbed a blanket she believed contained Ali. Only once she was outside did she realize he was not in it.
“We are simple people, who pursue and seek peace,” Dawabsha wrote. “We don’t want terror on either side, and we condemn it.”
Dawabsha said that he worked as a construction worker to build the Sheba Medical Center — the hospital near Tel Aviv where his daughter Riham and four-year-old grandson Ahmad are being treated.
“My friends are Jews. I worked here, and helped build the buildings at the Sheba Medical Center where my relatives are now hospitalized,” he wrote.
“We want to live. Please join our prayer for their recovery — Jews and Arabs — so that my grandson will be the last victim of the terror war.”
On Saturday night, Nasser Dawabsha — the uncle of Ali Dawabsha — addressed a large crowd of Israelis at a rally against incitement, hatred and violence in Tel Aviv. He spoke in Arabic and his words were simultaneously translated into Hebrew.
“They [the family] were sitting together [on Thursday night] and then each person went to their own home. Half an hour later the explosive device was thrown. The fuel that was in the explosive was potent; nothing was left [of the home] at the end,” he said.
“My brother came out, burned, with his wife. He led his four-year-old son outside,” Nasser said, crying. “Riham thought that Ali was in the blanket, but later they realized he was not and that he remained inside. When she came out she was amazed Ali was not with her and asked where he was. And then Ali was burned,” he said.
The uncle then used the stage to address the prime minister: “I want to ask [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, and I want an answer… Why was Ali murdered? Eighteen months old. He’s innocent. What did he do to the IDF and the settlers? Ali is a martyr. We ask and hope that this will be the end of the suffering of our people.
“There was Muhammad Abu Khdeir” — a Palestinian 16-year-old who was burned alive last summer by a Jewish gang after three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped and killed by a Hamas cell in the West Bank — “and now Ali, and we don’t know who’s next. We want those burnings to end,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Nasser and other relatives visited the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, where his brother Saad, Ali’s father, is hospitalized with extensive third-degree burns.
“According to what the doctors tell us, the mother is in very bad condition and the son is beginning to improve,” he said. Speaking to Ynet, Nasser said the Israeli government must “give us protection as a nation living under occupation, to arrest the killers and bring them to justice.
“This is a government that encourages settlers who all the time cry ‘Death to the Arabs’; this is why this government is part of the incitement,” he said at the hospital.
Saad has burns on 80 percent of his body, Riham is suffering from burns over 90% of her body, and four-year-old Ahmad has 60% burns, Army Radio reported.
The family’s small brick and cement home was gutted by the fire, and a Star of David was spray-painted on a wall along with the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah.”
Two assailants are believed to have carried out the attack. A gag order has been imposed on the investigation.