UN envoy calls on Israel to ‘swiftly’ catch Dawabsha killers
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UN envoy calls on Israel to ‘swiftly’ catch Dawabsha killers

In unusual statement, Nickolay Mladenov expresses frustration with 'slow process' of probe into firebombing by suspected Jewish terrorists

Family photos lie in the remains of the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma, after it was firebombed by suspected Jewish extremists on July 31, 2015. The family's 18-month-old baby was killed in the attack and his father died of his injuries eight days later, on August 8, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)
Family photos lie in the remains of the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma, after it was firebombed by suspected Jewish extremists on July 31, 2015. The family's 18-month-old baby was killed in the attack and his father died of his injuries eight days later, on August 8, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process called Wednesday on Israel’s law enforcement agencies to increase efforts to conclude an investigation into the firebombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank that killed three members of the same family.

Suspected Jewish extremists torched the Dawabsha home in the village of Duma on July 31 while the family slept inside. Ali Dawabsha, the family’s 18-month old son, died in the attack; his parents, Saad and Riham, succumbed to their injuries in Israeli hospitals in the aftermath of the attack.

The family’s sole remaining member, 4-year-old Ahmed, is still being treated at Tel Hashomer hospital for extensive burns to most of his body.

“Four months have passed since the arson attack against the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank,” said the statement from the office of Nickolay Mladenov.

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov, talks during his a press conference in Gaza City, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov, talks during his a press conference in Gaza City, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The “brutal killing” of Ali and his parents was “a tragedy that has angered Palestinians and shocked Israelis,” the statement said.

Mladenov said he was “concerned” by the “slow progress” of the investigation, and called on Israeli authorities “to move swiftly in bringing the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice.”

The UN envoy published his statement two days after Israeli media outlets reported a significant development in a Jewish terror investigation, but did not give details due to a gag order.

Israeli authorities have suggested that some of the suspects may be currently in detention under Israel’s administrative detention policy, which enables suspects to be held without trial for six-month renewable periods.

Palestinians often highlight the lack of arrests around the case as among the causes for the current wave of terrorism and violence directed against Israelis.

“Amidst the current escalation of violence, it is essential that all firmly and consistently reject terrorism and act decisively to stop hatred and incitement,” Mladenov said.

On Wednesday, Joint (Arab) List MKs Basel Ghattas asked Likud’s Yisrael Katz, who also serves as minister of intelligence affairs, whether the undisclosed case is in fact the Dawabsha family murder investigation.

Katz told Ghattas that he “view[s] with severity his attempt to exploit his parliamentary immunity in order to break the gag order and disrupt investigations, while harming state security.” Katz said he rejected Ghattas’s allegations against the Shin Bet.

Ghattas also mentioned a “foreign source” as saying that the Shin Bet security service did not serve indictment not because it was trying to avoid revealing sensitive intelligence sources but rather in order “to cover its own behind and not to reveal a new Avishai Raviv affair.”

Avishai Raviv was a radical right-wing activist who became a Shin Bet plant in the 1980s. After the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Raviv was accused of having known of killer Yigal Amir’s plans to murder Rabin and of failing to inform the Shin Bet in advance. Raviv was tried and found not guilty.

— AFP contributed to this report.

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