After Palestinian baby killed in firebombing, Abbas condemns settler groups as terrorists
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After Palestinian baby killed in firebombing, Abbas condemns settler groups as terrorists

Ali Dawabsha buried, doctors try to save rest of family; Israel castigates alleged Jewish terrorists; world slams attack; IDF sends troops to West Bank as violence flares

  • Palestinians carry the body of one-and-a-half year old Ali Dawabsha, killed in an apparent 'price tag' attack, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
    Palestinians carry the body of one-and-a-half year old Ali Dawabsha, killed in an apparent 'price tag' attack, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press statement after visiting the Dawabsha family at the hospital following an arson attack by alleged Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus, where the Dawabsha's infant son Ali was killed, and the rest of the family injured, on July 31, 2015. (Photo by FLASH90)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press statement after visiting the Dawabsha family at the hospital following an arson attack by alleged Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus, where the Dawabsha's infant son Ali was killed, and the rest of the family injured, on July 31, 2015. (Photo by FLASH90)
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, front, prays over the body of one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsheh, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. The toddler was burned to death when suspected Jewish assailants set fire to two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village early Friday. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
    Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, front, prays over the body of one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsheh, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. The toddler was burned to death when suspected Jewish assailants set fire to two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village early Friday. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
  • A Palestinian man mourns alongside the body of a one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsha, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)
    A Palestinian man mourns alongside the body of a one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsha, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)
  • Mourners at the West Bank funeral of Ali Saad Dawabsha, burned to death in an arson attack, July 31, 2015 (Ynet screenshot)
    Mourners at the West Bank funeral of Ali Saad Dawabsha, burned to death in an arson attack, July 31, 2015 (Ynet screenshot)
  • Palestinians look at the damage after a house was set on fire and a baby killed, allegedly by Jewish terrorists, in the West Bank village of Duma, on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
    Palestinians look at the damage after a house was set on fire and a baby killed, allegedly by Jewish terrorists, in the West Bank village of Duma, on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
  • A man shows a picture of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha, who died when his family house was set on fire by alleged Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Duma, on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
    A man shows a picture of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha, who died when his family house was set on fire by alleged Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Duma, on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
  • The Hebrew phrase 'Long live the king messiah' is spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacahria Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)
    The Hebrew phrase 'Long live the king messiah' is spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacahria Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)
  • File: President Reuven Rivlin visits Ahmad Dawabsha on Friday, July 31, 2015. Dawabsha was badly burned after Jewish terrorists burned the house in which he lived in the village of Duma, near Nablus in the West Bank. (Mark Neyman/GPO)
    File: President Reuven Rivlin visits Ahmad Dawabsha on Friday, July 31, 2015. Dawabsha was badly burned after Jewish terrorists burned the house in which he lived in the village of Duma, near Nablus in the West Bank. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Friday’s events as they unfold.

Rivlin says Israel has not done enough to curb Jewish terrorism

President Reuven Rivlin says following Thursday night’s arson attack, in which a Palestinian baby was killed when an entire family’s home was burned down, that Israel has not done enough to crack down on Jewish terrorists.

“To my great sorrow, until now it seems we have been lax in our treatment of the phenomena of Jewish terrorism. Perhaps we did not internalize that we are faced with a determined and dangerous, ideological group, which aims to destroy the fragile bridges which we work so tirelessly to build,” he says.

Early Friday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also characterized the arson as a “reprehensible and horrific act of terrorism in every respect.”

Rivlin, in his statements, sends consoling words and a plea to avoid stoking tension to Israeli Arabs and to Palestinians.

“At these painful moments, I turn to the Arab citizens of Israel, and the Palestinian people, to all law-abiding citizens, and ask that you do not succumb to the shock and anger. This is a time to join together,” he says.

President Reuven Rivlin, at his residence in Jerusalem on May 28, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

President Reuven Rivlin, at his residence in Jerusalem on May 28, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Netanyahu talks to Abbas by phone, calls to jointly fight terrorism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by telephone.

The prime minister tells Abbas that “everyone in Israel” is shocked by the despicable act of terror against the Dawabsha family, whose 18-month-old baby was killed in the fire that consumed their home.

“We must fight terrorism together, no matter from which side it comes,” Netanyahu tells Abbas, according to a statement by his office.

The prime minister also tells the PA president that he has instructed security forces to go to every length to locate and arrest the perpetrators.

— Raphael Ahren

Invoking Holocaust, minister urges soul-searching

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) earlier said that Israelis must do some serious “soul-searching” after a Palestinian toddler was killed in an arson attack, likely by Jewish extremists.

“We have a lot of lessons to learn as a society as a result of the incidents of last night,” said Erdan. “The signs point to this attack being carried out by Jews. A nation whose children were burned in the Holocaust needs to do a lot of soul-searching if it bred people who burn other human beings.”

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan seen during a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday, July 31, 2015. Erdan visited the area amid tensions following the murder of a Palestinian baby in an arson attack at the village of Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan seen during a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, July 31, 2015. Erdan visited the area amid tensions following the murder of a Palestinian baby in an arson attack at the village of Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Avi Issacharoff: This won’t be the last such attack

The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff pens an op-ed warning that the arson attack will not be the last, and says he’s speaking from personal experience. He describes a potentially similar incident of a Palestinian house set on fire in 2008. Here’s an excerpt:

“Inside we found hysterical Palestinian women, and terrified men, all certain they were about to die. I remember one woman in particular, her face an expression of horror, screaming “Allahu Akbar” and pleading that we save her.

“I tried to go back out and shout at the stone-throwers to stop, but they kept on throwing stones at us too. All this time, the flames were spreading.

“Some of the Jewish spectators were advising the stone-throwers where to target the trapped Palestinians. They were not trying to halt the attack.

“It took 20 minutes for Israeli security forces to reach the house and extricate us all.

“To the best of my knowledge, nobody was ever prosecuted over this incident.”

The full piece is here.

Jerusalem rabbi visits man wounded in pride parade

Rabbi Aryeh Stern, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, visits one of the wounded from yesterday’s stabbing at the gay pride parade.

The rabbi tells the man “most adamantly” that “Judaism and bloodletting” do not go hand in hand. He adds that he prays for the full recovery of the man and all others wounded at the parade.

During yesterday’s Jerusalem gay pride parade, a radical ultra-Orthodox man stabbed six people. Two of them were seriously wounded.

The man, Yishai Schlissel, was incarcerated for a similar offense at the 2005 pride parade.

Hamas urges lone-wolf attacks on Israelis

Hamas has called on Palestinians to initiate lone-wolf attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers in response to the arson attack in the Palestinian village of Duma overnight Thursday-Friday, which left a baby dead and three members of his family severely injured.

Spokesman Husam Badran calls the attack — in which two West Bank homes were set alight Thursday night and Hebrew graffiti spray-painted on their walls — an “unforgivable Israeli atrocity” meriting an “exceptional response from our people and their resistance.”

“This crime,” Badran is quoted by Hamas daily al-Resalah as saying, “renders occupation soldiers and settlers a legitimate target for the resistance everywhere and in all conditions.”

PM leads chorus of Israel condemnation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the arson attack, as a “horrific, heinous” crime that is “a terror attack in every respect.”

Other politicians across the spectrum have also chorused their horror.

Jerusalem, Tel Aviv rallies against incitement

A rally will be held at 10 p.m. tonight (Friday) in Jerusalem’s Zion Square “against incitement and for support of the gay community of Jerusalem,” according to a Facebook post announcing the event.

Tomorrow, in Tel Aviv, a similar rally is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. A few thousand people are expected to attend the Tel Aviv rally.

Lapid denounces ‘an act of war’

Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid calls the arson attack an act of war:

Writes Lapid: “In the other room my son is putting on his uniform. He came home last night and has just now received a phone call. ‘Emergency call up,’ he says, his face stern. He’s been called back in because the enemy acted last night in Duma. Terrorists entered at night and set fire to a baby. As always, the IDF is going to war against the enemy. Only this time the enemy is from here, from inside, from within us. They are a fifth column. They are the natural partners of Hamas, of Hezbollah, of ISIS. They look like us but they aren’t like us. They are traitors to all that is sacred to us, traitors to the very idea on which the State of Israel was founded, traitors to Judaism.

“And they’re trying – like the enemy always tries – to destroy the State of Israel.

“We won’t let that happen.”

Read the full piece here.

Yair Lapid, speaks during a Yesh Atid party meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem on July 20, 2015. ( Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yair Lapid ( Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

PA mulls UN Security Council action over baby death

During Netanyahu’s phone call with Abbas, the prime minister told Abbas that the perpetrators of the arson in the village of Duma “are terror groups, we will arrest them and put them to trial,” Palestinian officials tell the Times of Israel.

Officials further say that the Palestinian leadership is expected to convene tonight and will likely make a decision on turning to the UN’s Security Council in a demand to condemn Israel for the killing of the Dawabsha family’s baby and for construction in the settlements.

— Avi Issacharoff

Mourners at the West Bank funeral of Ali Saad Dawabsha, burned to death in an arson attack, July 31, 2015 (Ynet screenshot)

Mourners at the West Bank funeral of Ali Saad Dawabsha, burned to death in an arson attack, July 31, 2015 (Ynet screenshot)

PM visits Dawabsha family in hospital, vows to catch ‘murderers’

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu visits the children’s intensive care unit at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, where the four-year-old son of the Dawabsha family is being treated.

The boy is in critical condition. His 18-month-old brother Ali was killed when their home was set on fire, allegedly by Jewish terrorists. The parents were severely injured.

Upon leaving the premises, Netanyahu says: “I visited now a boy fighting for his life next to his parents who are hanging between life and death. The State of Israel will have its finest physicians try to restore the boy to good health and to save the parents.”

“It is difficult to stand next to the bed of such a boy when you know his young brother was murdered and you ask, ‘Why was this terrible deed done?’ Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. We will catch the murderers and bring them to justice,” the prime minister says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press statement after visiting the Dawabsha family at the Sheba hospital following an arson attack by alleged Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus, where the Dawabsha's infant son Ali was killed, and the rest of the family injured, on July 31, 2015. (Photo by FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press statement after visiting the Dawabsha family at the Sheba hospital following an arson attack by alleged Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus, where the Dawabsha’s infant son Ali was killed, and the rest of the family injured, on July 31, 2015. (Photo by FLASH90)

Shooting attack at car traveling on West Bank road

Shots were just fired from a passing vehicle at an Israeli car traveling near Kochav Hashachar, a West Bank settlement north-east of Jerusalem.

Three of the shots hit the vehicle. The passengers, some of whom were armed, fired back. The attackers fled.

Forces are sweeping the area for the shooters. No injuries were reported.

— Judah Ari Gross

Police at highest level of alert in Jerusalem

Acting Chief of Police Benzi Sau. (Kobi Gieon / Flash90)

Acting Chief of Police Benzi Sau. (Kobi Gieon / Flash90)

Heads of local councils in the West Bank were instructed to raise the level of alert in their communities over the weekend and in coming days.

Residents were told to avoid trips outside the communities and to coordinate with local security officers any incident of allowing Palestinian construction workers to enter the communities.

Interim police chief Comm. Bentzi Sau has instructed police to conduct ongoing assessments in all regions. Police officers will be present in larger numbers along central roads and in flashpoint cities.

In Jerusalem, police is at its highest level of alert.

Egypt condemns arson, calls on Israel to bear ‘legal, humanitarian’ burden

Egypt issues a strong condemnation of the arson at the Dawabsha family’s home, in which the family was seriously wounded and a baby, Ali Dawabsha, was killed.

A spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry says in a press statement that the Egyptian government wishes to extend its condolences to the Dawabsha family members and the Palestinian people.

According to Ynet, the Egyptian government also calls on the Israeli government to carry the legal and humanitarian burden, as the occupying power, and calls on the international community to defend the Palestinian people.

Iran’s working moms face sack after maternity leave

Tens of thousands of working mothers have been sacked in Iran since the start of 2014 because employers found cheaper staff, an official says, warning that a new maternity pay policy remains unfunded.

The comments highlight the financial pressures on families and on the Iranian government, despite this month’s nuclear deal with world powers that could pave the way for an economic rebound.

An austerity budget passed in March after a precipitous drop in global oil prices has left key Tehran ministries, including education and oil, struggling to pay wages.

A new law enshrining nine months of paid leave for mothers has been passed yet there are no funds to pay its estimated 3.2 trillion rial ($985 million) bill, according to welfare bosses.

“So far, not one rial has been allocated,” Mohammad Hassan Zeda, a deputy at Iran’s Social Security Organisation, tells the ISNA news agency in an interview.

— AFP

Magnitude-5.5 quake hits Iran; no report of damage, injuries

Iran says a magnitude-5.5 earthquake has jolted a sparsely populated district some 800 kilometers (497 miles) southeast of Tehran. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says the quake struck around 2:56 p.m. Friday (1126 GMT) with an epicenter in the town of Sirch.

In 2013, a magnitude-6.1 quake killed at least 37 people in an area of the same province where Friday’s quake struck.

Iran experiences frequent earthquakes. In 2003, a magnitude-6.6 earthquake killed some 26,000 and flattened the historic city of Bam.

— AP

Palestinians say man killed in Qalandiya checkpoint

Palestinian sources report that a Palestinian man was killed at the Qalandiya checkpoint during altercations with IDF troops Friday afternoon.

According to Ynet, several Palestinians were reported to have been throwing rocks at Border Police officers, who were trying to disperse the crowd with tear gas.

Israeli officials have not confirmed the claim and the Times of Israel cannot independently verify the accuracy of the report.

Initial probe shows 2 carried out attack that killed Palestinian baby

Initial investigation of the fatal Duma Molotov cocktail attack indicates that two assailants were involved.

The two masked men approached the Dawabsha family home in the village south of Nablus, and a second home at around 2 a.m.

They sprayed racist graffiti in Hebrew, smashed windows, threw in petrol bombs, and fled, according to Channel 2. A petrol bomb was thrown through a smashed window directly into baby Ali’s room, it said.

A Palestinian Red Crescent medic said that when he got there, 18-month-old Ali was burned to death. “I saw an 18-month old baby burned to ash,” he said.

A man shows a picture of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha who died when his family house was set on fire by alleged Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

A man shows a picture of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha who died when his family house was set on fire by alleged Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

The medic, Youssuf, told Channel 2 that the father Saad had managed to get his wife and 4-year-old son out of their burning home, but “had no time” to rescue Ali.

All three other family members are in the Sheba hospital, where doctors are fighting to save their lives.

A Star of David and the Hebrew word 'Revenge' are spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacahria Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

A Star of David and the Hebrew word ‘Revenge’ are spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacahria Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Slain baby Ali Dawabsha laid to rest

The funeral for 18-month-old toddler Ali Dawabsha ends in the West Bank.

His parents and brother are unable to attend as they are hospitalized, all suffering varying degrees of burns, their lives in danger, according to Israeli medical officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press statement after visiting the Dawabsha family at the hospital following an arson attack by alleged Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus, where the Dawabsha's infant son Ali was killed, and the rest of the family injured, on July 31, 2015. (Photo by FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press statement after visiting the Dawabsha family in the hospital following an arson attack by alleged Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus, where the Dawabsha’s infant son Ali was killed, and the rest of the family injured, on July 31, 2015. (FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to the family and condemned the attack in the strongest terms. He empathized with the family and pledged that Israel will have its “finest physicians” work to save the remainder of the Dawabsha family.

Earlier, Netanyahu called Abbas by telephone and called on both sides to join the fight against terrorism.

Since the arson attack on the Dawabsha family, there was a shooting attack on the Jewish settlement of Kochav Hashachar in the West Bank; no injuries were reported.

There have also been riots at the Qalandiya checkpoint where unconfirmed Palestinian reports say a man was killed.

The Palestinian Authority will convene in Ramallah to discuss a move to turn to the UN Security Council, calling on the international body to condemn Israel.

Palestinians carry the body of one-and-a-half year old Ali Dawabsheh during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. The infant was burned to death in an apparent 'price tag' attack by Jewish extremists. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinians carry the body of one-and-a-half year old Ali Dawabsha during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. The infant was burned to death in an apparent ‘price tag’ attack by Jewish extremists. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A Palestinian man mourns alongside the body of a one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsha, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

A Palestinian man mourns alongside the body of a one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsha, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Issawiya youth join fray with Molotov cocktails, rocks

Several dozen Arab youths wearing ski masks are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Border Police forces in the Palestinian village of Issawiya, near French Hill, a north-east Jerusalem neighborhood.

Border Police officers are using water cannons to repel the rioters. No injuries have been reported.

28 treated for smoke inhalation after West Bank fire

Fire and rescue services have contained a large fire that started near the West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai in the southern Hebron hills.

Some 28 people are being treated for smoke inhalation at the scene; three were evacuated by paramedics for further treatment.

It is not clear whether the fire is a result of arson or a brush fire, a frequent occurrence in Israel during the summer. The country is suffering its worst heat wave in five years.

Rivlin visits Dawabsha boy in hospital

President Rivlin visits 4-year-old Ahmed Dawabsha, brother of Ali who was buried earlier today, briefly after PM Netanyahu visited him.

“What we demand of our neighbors, from those with whom we fight, from those who have been our enemies for over a century – to bring an end to terrorism – we must also demand of ourselves,” the president says during the visit.

“We have returned to our homeland, and from a position of sovereignty we must maintain law and order, and prevent all forms of inexplicable horrors, in the name of any kind of religious conviction, from any side,” he adds.

In a photo released by the Government Press Office, Rivlin can be seen next to Dawabsha. The boy has suffered significant burns following the attack on his home, including to his face.

President Reuven Rivlin visits Ahmed Dawabsha on Friday, July 31, 2015. Dawabsha was badly burned after Jewish terrorists burned the house in which he lived in the village of Duma, near Nablus in the West Bank. His parents were also badly burned and his young brother, a toddler of 18 months, was killed. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin visits Ahmed Dawabsha on Friday, July 31, 2015. Dawabsha was badly burned after suspected Jewish terrorists burned the house in which he lived in the village of Duma, near Nablus, in the West Bank. His parents were also badly burned and his young brother, a toddler of 18 months, was killed. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

‘She ran back to the burning house to save her baby’

The Dawabsha family is being treated in two hospitals in Israel.

The mother and 4-year-old Ahmed Dawabsha are in Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer. Both are suffering extensive burn wounds throughout their bodies.

The father is being treated at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba and is listed in critical condition.

According to testimony from neighbors of the family, after the father rescued his wife and boy from the house, the mother tried to go back and rescue 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha. The baby was consumed by the flames. A Palestinian medic at the scene said he was “burned to ash.”

Visiting Ahmed in the children’s intensive care unit, President Reuven Rivlin looks visibly shaken.

In a statement to the press, he says: “We awoke this morning to a day of sorrow, I feel a sense of shame, and moreover a sense of pain. Pain over seeing a child, whose brother was burned, and whose parents are fighting for their lives. It is difficult to see that there are those within my people capable of such acts. The shame is great, though the pain is greater. It must be understood by both sides that terror cannot be allowed in our region. It is not enough simply to talk about the need to fight terror – we need to fight terror.”

“I spoke with the members of the family who told me of the good relationship of the father and mother, now fighting for their lives, with their Jewish neighbors. We stand before them, and must explain that such terror is not our path, it is not your path, it is not the path of the State of Israel, or of the Jewish people. Words alone will not suffice,” he adds.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks to the press after visiting Ahmed Dawabsha at the Sheba hospital, in Tel Hashomer, on Friday, July 31, 2015. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin speaks to the press after visiting Ahmed Dawabsha at the Sheba Hospital, in Tel Hashomer, on Friday, July 31, 2015. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

US condemns attack, urges both sides to avoid escalation

The United States condemns what it says is a “vicious terrorist attack” after suspected Jewish settlers burned a Palestinian family’s home, killing an 18-month-old baby.

A statement from the US State Department urges Israel to “apprehend the murderers” and called on both sides to “avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragic incident.”

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner says Washington “condemns in the strongest possible terms last night’s vicious terrorist attack in the Palestinian village of Duma.

“We convey our profound condolences to the Dawabsha family and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured,” he adds.

Toner says the US welcomes “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s order to Israel’s security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers for what he called an act of terrorism and bring them to justice.”

— AFP

IDF spokesperson ‘condemns all terror attacks’

The IDF spokesperson’s unit posts a Shabbat message on its Twitter account condemning “all acts of terrorism” and says its thoughts are with the families of the victims.

US Consulate General warns citizens of expected protests

The US Consulate General in Jerusalem issues a message calling on American citizens to avoid neighborhoods in which demonstrations are taking place.

The consulate “expects demonstrations in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank due to the recent attack at the Jerusalem Pride Parade and the attack in Duma. The Israel National Police (INP) is likely to have a heavy presence in areas where there are demonstrations and may restrict vehicular traffic to affected neighborhoods. We advise you to avoid neighborhoods restricted by INP and locations where there are active demonstrations,” the message says.

Arson attack adds fodder for the haters

The murder of toddler Ali Dawabsha by suspected Jewish terrorists in an arson attack has given anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activists fodder for their campaign.

A new Twitter hashtag, #WasBurnedAlive, is tacked to tweets ranging from the empathetic to the delusional and conspiratorial.

The following is an example of the latter: The tentacles of the octopus stifling the Capitol building in the (badly photoshopped) image are inscribed with the names and acronyms of Jewish-American organizations.

Another is more direct:

https://twitter.com/ReemoOo_8/status/627148623487172608

Hezbollah and Hamas capitalize on baby’s death

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin are not the only ones consoling the Dawabsha family.

According to a report in Ynet, Hamas deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh called relatives of the family on the phone offering their condolences and well wishes for the injured family.

Haniyeh expressed outrage at what happened and promised the relatives that Hamas will stand by the family.

Hezbollah also referred to the incident, and said that it “necessitates a move by the peoples of the Ummah and assistance to the Palestinians to fight the occupation.”

ADL condemns ‘shocking terror attack’

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the next National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaking at the ADL Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on November 6, 2014. photo credit: Courtesy ADL)

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the next National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaking at the ADL Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on November 6, 2014. (Courtesy ADL)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issues a statement condemning the “shocking terror attack apparently carried out by Israeli extremists” in the Palestinian village of Duma.

Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL National Director, and Carole Nuriel, Director of ADL’s Israel Office, say in a statement:

Enough is enough. The murder of Ali Dawabsheh, apparently by Israeli extremist “price tag” activists is a shocking and senseless act of terrorism. For seven years, extremists have perpetrated acts of violence and hate, targeting mosques, churches, and private property. Now these unacceptable acts of hatred and unbridled zealotry have resulted in the murder of an innocent child.

There has been much condemnation by Israeli officials against these acts, and there is genuine outrage and condemnation of the attack on the Dawabsha home. It is significant that Prime Minister Netanyahu called Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the act and said: “We must fight terrorism together regardless of which side it comes from.”

Expressions of outrage are no longer enough. The perpetrators of these crimes need to face specific, enhanced consequences for these despicable acts of hate and terrorism. Community and religious leaders must make unquestionably clear that any act of hate and violence is unacceptable, un-Jewish, and that anyone involved in such incidents will be shunned by the community, let alone prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They must take concrete steps to identify and root out extremist elements. They must model and educate about how to express political and social views through legitimate, democratic outlets.

Livni: ‘We need to fight for our Judaism, values’

Zionist Union leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog visited Ahmed Dawabsha at the Sheba Hospital Friday afternoon.

Livni later wrote on Facebook that Ahmed and his parents are fighting for their lives in the hospital because “Israelis, of my own people, threw Molotov cocktails into their home and burned alive their son, their baby. I told them that whoever burns a boy in his bed in the name of the people of Israel is not one of my people, not part of our Judaism.”

Livni wrote that she came to the hospital with Herzog and with Danny Dayan, former spokesperson of the Yesha Council, an organization representing Israeli settlers.

Dayan, she wrote, “came without hesitating, immediately when I called him this morning, knowing that this message to them [the family] and to the people of Israel must come in everyone’s name and despite our disagreements.”

Livni said the last 24 hours “that started with the stabbing in Jerusalem [at the pride parade] and continued with the arson this morning, must be a constitutive day in the soul of this nation, and the time has come to fight. To fight for our Judaism, for our Israeli-ness, for our values.”

Zionist Union leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog with former Yesha Council spokesperson Danny Dayan (R) speaking to the press at the Sheba hospital in Tel Hashomer on Friday, July 31 2015. (Screen capture, Facebook)

Zionist Union leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog with former Yesha Council spokesperson Danny Dayan (R) speaking to the press at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer on Friday, July 31 2015. (Screen capture, Facebook)

Beit Hagai fire may be revenge attack, say officials

Security officials suspect that a fire near Beit Hagai earlier today, in which 28 settlers from the West Bank community were treated for smoke inhalation, was not a natural brush fire but arson carried out by Palestinians, likely in revenge for the terror attack against the Dawabsha family, killing their son.

UN peace process coordinator condemns attack

The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, says in a statement that he is “outraged by today’s vicious arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists in the Occupied West Bank village of Duma near Nablus, which killed Palestinian toddler, Ali, critically injured his mother and father and injured his four-year old sibling. My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.”

“I join in the strong condemnations issued by Israeli and Palestinian Government and political leaders. I call for a full and prompt investigation to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist crime to justice.

“This heinous murder was carried out for a political objective. We must not permit such acts to allow hate and violence to bring more personal tragedies and to bury any prospect of peace. This reinforces the need for an immediate resolution of the conflict and an end to the occupation,” the statement says.

File: Then-new UN Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov after a press conference in Gaza City, April 30, 2015 (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Nickolay Mladenov after a press conference in Gaza City, April 30, 2015 (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

IDF scrambles units to West Bank, anticipating violence

The IDF has scrambled four battalions and put two brigades on top alert, anticipating a rise in violence following the terror attack on the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma.

Security officials fear Hamas will also fire rockets at Israel in revenge for the attack.

A Channel 2 analyst says the search for the perpetrators began “several critical hours” after the incident occurred. Another anchor says until today “zero perpetrators” of similar attacks have been caught.

Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum have all condemned the attack in the strongest terms. Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Rivlin and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have all called the perpetrators “terrorists.” Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett called them “murderers.”

UN ties terror attack with lack of peace process

A statement by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ties the death of Ali Dawabsha with the lack of a peace process and home demolitions.

In the statement Ban strongly condemns today’s murder of a Palestinian child in the West Bank and calls for the perpetrators of “this terrorist act” to be promptly brought to justice.

He adds: “Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life. This must end.”

According to the statement, “the absence of a political process and Israel’s illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise to violent extremism on both sides. This presents a further threat to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood as well as to the security of the people of Israel.”

Police chief to be announced next week

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will announce the appointment of a new police chief next week, Channel 2 reports.

Those on the shortlist include acting police chief Benzi Sau, Southern District Commander Yoram Halevi and Northern District Commander Zohar Dvir.

Al-Nusra Front claims to have caught ‘US agents’

Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front claims to have captured several Syrian rebels trained by US forces.

Calling the rebels “agents of America,” the rebel group, warns others from participating in the “American project,” according to Reuters.

Syrian opposition sources said earlier this week that al-Nusra kidnapped the head of another rebel group, calling itself Division 30 and many of its men.

Al-Nusra operates in the Syrian Golan Heights near the Israeli border.

Palestinian throws Molotov cocktail at troops, shot in chest

IDF troops shoot a Palestinian man who threw a Molotov cocktail at an army post near Bir Zeit in the West Bank.

The man was hit in the chest and has been evacuated to the Palestinian Authority’s Government Hospital in Ramallah.

WJC’s Ronald Lauder: ‘Israel cannot allow this evil to exist’

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder condemns Friday’s terror attack, saying: “This barbaric attack represents the worst that humanity is capable of. On behalf of the World Jewish Congress and the 100 Jewish communities we represent, I would like to join the government and people of Israel in condemning the attack. This crime was, in no uncertain terms, an act of terror.”

Lauder extends his condolences to the Dawabsha family and calls on Israeli authorities to bring the terrorists to justice, adding: “The Jewish people and the State of Israel cannot allow for this sort of evil to exist – and we should do everything in our power to make sure it does not happen again.”

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Berlin, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014.(Photo credit: AP/Markus Schreiber)

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Berlin, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. (AP/Markus Schreiber)

Images from today’s riots

A Palestinian throws a stone towards a vehicle of Israeli security forces during clashes following a demonstration of Hamas supporters in support of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque on July 31, 2015 in the Israeli-controlled area called H2, in the West Bank town of Hebron. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

A Palestinian throws a stone at an Israeli security vehicle during clashes on July 31, 2015 near the West Bank town of Hebron. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

A child flashes the sign of victory during a demonstration of Palestinian Islamist Hamas supporters in support of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque on July 31, 2015 in the Israeli-controlled area called H2, in the West Bank town of Hebron. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

A child flashes the sign of victory during a demonstration of Hamas supporters on July 31, 2015 in the West Bank town of Hebron. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

Palestinians say man killed in northern Gaza by IDF

An IDF contingent fired at two Palestinians who came near the Gaza Strip border fence near Beit Lahia in the northern part of the Strip. The two were fired upon after ignoring the soldiers’ calls to stop and turn back.

Palestinian sources quoted by Ynet say Muhammad Masri, 17, was killed in the incident and another person was wounded.

Ali Dawabsha autopsy confirms toddler was burned alive

An autopsy on the body of Ali Dawbsha, who was killed in a fire when suspected Jewish terrorists firebombed his family home in the West Bank village of Duma, confirms that the 18-month-old baby was burned alive.

According to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, PA Minister of Justice Salim al-Saqqa said there was soot inside the baby’s body, indicating that he was still alive when his body caught fire.

Saqqa said the body was “blackened, his features had melted, parts of his extremities disintegrated from the burns, while parts of the lungs and rib cage had melted,” according to Ma’an.

His mother, says Ma’an, is suffering third-degree burns covering 90 percent of her body, while the father has burns on 80% of his body and four-year-old Ahmed is suffering third-degree burns on 60% of his body.

A relative holds up a photo of a one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsha, in the family house torched in a suspected attack by Jewish terrorists in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. The boy died in the fire, his four-year-old brother and parents were badly hurt. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A relative holds up a photo of a one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsha, in the family house torched in a suspected attack by Jewish terrorists in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. The boy died in the fire, his four-year-old brother and parents were badly hurt. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Orthodox Union condemns attack, says it violates Jewish values

The leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America “strongly condemns today’s apparent ‘price tag’ attack by Israelis on a Palestinian home near Nablus, burning homes and murdering an infant. Such a heinous act offends all people of good will and violates basic Jewish values,” the organization says in a statement.

“We commend Prime Minister Netanyahu for his unequivocal repudiation of this act and his commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the brief statement reads.

The Orthodox Union, however, refrains from calling the attack an act of terrorism.

Alleged leader of Israeli organized crime ring gets 32 years

A California man who prosecutors say was a leader of an Israeli organized crime ring that moved drugs and money across the globe has been sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Moshe Matsri was sentenced Friday in federal court in Los Angeles. Prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to 34 years in prison, while his own attorney argued for a 12-year term.

Prosecutors say Mastri led the US outpost of the crime ring, laundering large amounts of drugs and money around the world and using violence and threats to get what he wanted.

Matsri’s attorney says he’ll appeal the lengthy prison sentence and that his client is a good man.

— AP

Prosor condemns attack in which entire family was ‘destroyed’

File: Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor reads out a passage from the Israeli national anthem in front of the UN Security Council on Israel's Memorial Day, April 21, 2015. (Photo credit: Screenshot/IsraelinUN)

File: Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor reads out a passage from the Israeli national anthem in front of the UN Security Council on Israel’s Memorial Day, April 21, 2015. (Photo credit: Screenshot/IsraelinUN)

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, says in a statement that Israelis woke up this morning to a sad day of hatred and violence, marked by a heinous terror attack.

Prosor says an entire family was destroyed with the killing of toddler Ali Dawabsha. He adds that the Israeli public and politicians from across the political spectrum condemn the attack and all displays of fanaticism, which achieve nothing but pain and drive dialogue further away.

Israel will continue to act against all displays of extremism in Israel and around the world, Prosor says.

Another brush fire in West Bank suspected as arson

Two fire and rescue teams from the Judea and Samaria District were scrambled to douse a brush fire that erupted near a road that passes around the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank.

The fire erupted late in the afternoon when temperatures already began to drop, and police suspect it was a case of arson.

2 women bitten by snakes; teen, allergic to milk, dies after eating chocolate

A four-year-old child and a 60-year-old woman were hospitalized in Petah Tikvah and Tel Hashomer after being bitten by snakes. Both were listed as being in moderate condition.

Earlier, a 6-year-old Arab Israeli child from the village of Iksal, in the north, was evacuated to the Rambam hospital in Haifa with moderate injuries, apparently after being hit by a car.

A seriously wounded man and lightly wounded woman were taken to Hillel Yafe hospital in Hadera. Both, from the Arab village of Jisr a Zarka, were wounded by gunfire. The village is inside sovereign Israel and the shooting is unrelated to violent eruptions across the West Bank and Jerusalem in the wake of a terror attack early Friday morning.

A 17-year-old teen from Sderot died in hospital after eating chocolate. The teen was allergic to milk.

Conference of Presidents condemns terror attack, pride parade stabbing

Stephen Greenberg, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, say in a statement that they “expressed their profound sorrow to the Dawabsha family on the death of their child, Ali Saad Dawabsha, in a fire apparently deliberately set in an act of revenge. We are also deeply disturbed by the wanton attack in Jerusalem against participants of the Gay Pride event.”

“These outrageous actions warrant the broadest condemnation and we welcome the strong statements and actions by the government of Israel to apprehend those responsible and to bring them to justice,” the organization says. “These attacks, as well as the many recorded terror incidents in the past week that injured twenty-two Israelis can never be justified. They must be met with determined action to prevent violence, apprehend perpetrators, and hold to account those who engage in incitement. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations seen during an Interview in the Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem, January 7, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations seen during an Interview in the Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem, January 7, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Despite bombing, Islamic State is no weaker than a year ago

American intelligence agencies have concluded that despite billions of dollars spent and more than 10,000 extremist fighters killed, the Islamic State group is fundamentally no weaker than it was when the US-led bombing campaign began a year ago.

US military commanders on the ground aren’t disputing the assessment, but they point to an upcoming effort to clear the important Sunni city of Ramadi, which fell to the militants in May, as a crucial milestone.

The battle for Ramadi, expected over the next few months, “promises to test the mettle” of Iraq’s security forces, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Killea, who is helping run the US-led coalition effort in Iraq, tells reporters at the Pentagon in a video briefing from the region.

The US-led military campaign has put the Islamic State group on defense, Killea said, adding, “There is progress.” Witnesses on the ground say the airstrikes and Kurdish ground actions are squeezing the militants in northern Syria, particularly in their self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa.

But US intelligence agencies see the overall situation as a strategic stalemate: The Islamic State remains a well-funded extremist army able to replenish its ranks with foreign jihadis as quickly as the US can eliminate them. Meanwhile, the group has expanded to other countries, including Libya, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Afghanistan.

The assessments by the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and others appear to contradict the optimistic line taken by the Obama administration’s special envoy, retired Gen. John Allen, who told a forum in Aspen, Colorado, last week that “ISIS is losing” in Iraq and Syria. The intelligence was described by officials who would not be named because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

“We’ve seen no meaningful degradation in their numbers,” a defense official says, citing intelligence estimates that put the group’s total strength at between 20,000 and 30,000, the same estimate as last August, when the airstrikes began.

— AP

In this photo released on Sunday, June 28, 2015, by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant waves his group's flag as he and another celebrate in Fallujah, Iraq, west of Baghdad (Militant website via AP)

In this photo released on Sunday, June 28, 2015, by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant waves his group’s flag as he and another celebrate in Fallujah, Iraq, west of Baghdad (Militant website via AP)

Abbas slams settlers, doubts Israel will bring baby’s killers to justice

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press conference, June 10, 2015 (AP/Darko Vojinovic)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press conference, June 10, 2015 (AP/Darko Vojinovic)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he is doubtful that Israel will bring to justice the suspects in the arson attack which killed a Palestinian infant and critically injured three other family members.

Speaking at the beginning of an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, Abbas says the international community should label settlement organizations in Israel and the West Bank as terrorist organizations, according to the Ma’an news agency.

He says the killing of Ali Dawabsha is the result of continuous Israeli settlement policies, and “won’t be the last crime by Israeli settlers.”

The PA president wants to take Israel to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and says that the PA will ask UN to defend the Palestinians.

NIF says right wing leaders should be held accountable for ‘tolerating incitement’

The New Israel Fund says in a statement that “today in Israel is a day of soul searching. Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum are condemning the violence. And many Israelis are saying that the elegant words that some Israeli leaders posted to Facebook are not enough. One cannot say, year after year, that Israel exists only for its Jewish citizens, or only for the Jewish citizens who comply with a narrow, right-wing interpretation of Zionism, and then be shocked when extremists feel free to express hatred and do violence and innocent children are murdered.”

The NIF continues that “some leaders of the right” have for years “tolerated or personified incitement and exclusion” and need to be held responsible for their rhetoric and their actions.

“This also holds for religious leadership. Rabbinical extremists who use holy texts to justify hatred and violence are even more despicable than their political brethren. Homophobia, misogyny, and the ugliest expressions of prejudice stain some in the ultra-Orthodox leadership and community and must be roundly denounced,” the NIF says.

7 Palestinians, 1 Israeli police officer hurt in today’s clashes; Gazan killed

Since the morning, seven Palestinians were wounded in altercations with IDF soldiers and Border Police officers. Six were lightly hurt at several rioting focal points, and one man was badly wounded when he was shot after hurling a Molotov cocktail at an IDF post near Bir Zeit, a West Bank Palestinian city.

The military and police used riot dispersal means including tear gas, water cannons, and small-caliber bullets.

One police officer was lightly wounded in the Old City when he was hit in the face by a rock.

Separately, in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians say a man was killed after coming near the border fence and ignoring soldiers’ calls for him to stop.

Israeli soldiers advance towards Palestinian protesters during clashes on July 31, 2015 near the Jalazoun Palestinian refugee camp and the Jewish settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Israeli soldiers advance towards Palestinian protesters during clashes on July 31, 2015 near the Jalazoun Palestinian refugee camp and the Jewish settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Firebombers came from nearby, fled the scene on foot, TV report says

Channel 2 reports that there is “the beginning of a lead” in the investigation of the fatal firebombing this morning that killed Ali Dawabsha and left his parents and brother badly burned and fighting for their lives.

The assailants are believed to have come from the area of the nearby Esh Kodesh settlement outpost, “but not from Esh Kodesh itself,” according to military reporter Roni Daniel.

He says the two killers fled the Dawabashas’ village, Duma, on foot, indicating that they came from the area.

B’nai B’rith ‘horrified’ by terror attack on Dawabsha home

B’nai B’rith International says in a statement that it is “horrified” by the arson attack in which Ali Dawabsha was killed and his family wounded.

The organization “urges Israeli authorities to expeditiously bring the perpetrators to justice. These brazen and abominable actions cannot be tolerated in any society and those behind this killing should be swiftly punished to the full extent of the law,” a press statement from the organization says.

IDF spots Palestinians allegedly trying to set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus

IDF surveillance posts have identified several Palestinians who came near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus and apparently tried to set fire to the premises.

After they were spotted, the group fled.

The site of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. (keveryosef.org)

The site of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. (keveryosef.org)

Israeli Arab dies in hospital, police open murder inquiry

An Israeli Arab man, 36, who was evacuated to the Naharia hospital earlier this evening with marks of violence covering his body, succumbed to his injuries.

The man was a resident of the Arab village of Ba’ana. Police are investigating the incident as a murder case.

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