As Palestinians grieved over the weekend for an infant murdered in a West Bank firebomb attack Thursday night, all eyes seemed to be on the boy’s mother who was fighting for her life in an Israeli hospital.
As Riham Dawabsha, suffering from burns on over 90 percent of her body, was said to be teetering on the brink between life and death, her family warned that her passing could have dire consequences on the Palestinian street.
Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha, 18 months old, was killed in the arson attack. He was buried on Friday. The rest of the family — parents Saad and Riham, and 4-year-old brother Ahmad — were badly burned in the incident and were receiving treatment at two Israeli hospitals. Saad has burns on 80 percent of his body and Ahmad has 60% burns, Army Radio reported.
Relative Mohammed Dawabsha told Ynet news: “We will hold the Israeli government fully responsible for the consequences if the mother dies.”
He claimed the street could ignite in widespread violence should that come to pass. “We are all waiting for her to wake up and return to us safely. I think the [possibility of a] Third Intifada is resting on her life.”
Rumors abounded Saturday night that Riham had indeed died, but Israeli doctors treating her were quick to deny them, saying such misinformation was unhelpful.
The parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old Palestinian kidnapped and burned alive by Jewish terrorists last year, visited the Dawabsha family on Saturday night, and father Hussein Abu Khdeir also warned that a “fierce” Palestinian response was on the cards.
If Riham Dawabsha succumbed to her wounds, he said, the reaction on the street would be “difficult.”
Abu Khdeir blamed the “racist Israeli government” for the attacks on the two families. He told Ynet he felt the Palestinians must respond severely to Thursday’s attack.
“We must fight against terrorism. If we are silent, we will continue to pay a price, and the settlers will murder more of our children,” he said.
Ali Dawbasha’s death has been met with rioting in the West Bank, and a Palestinian teenager died over the weekend after throwing a Molotov cocktail at an IDF post and being shot by soldiers in response.
Riots erupted Saturday afternoon on a road near the West Bank village of Duma, where the Dawabsha family home was attacked. Some 200 Palestinian youths wearing ski masks threw rocks at Israeli security forces and burned tires near the village. In the Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah, 10 Palestinians were lightly hurt by smoke inhalation during riots that erupted at the end of the funeral for 17-year-old youth Laith Khaldi.
On Friday, IDF troops and Border Police officers dispersed riots near the Qalandiya checkpoint, in the village of Isawiya northeast of Jerusalem, in Hebron and in several other locations. Late Friday night, a group of Palestinians failed in an attempt to set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
Hussein Abu Khdeir said Friday his family had been fearing another deadly incident since his son was killed last July in a reprisal attack for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank the previous month.
“The Israeli government is too lenient and [in fact] strengthens these racist criminals,” he said in reference to Jewish extremists who carry out so-called “price tag” attacks against mosques, homes and other Palestinian property mainly in the West Bank.
With this attack in Duma, “we feel that our son was murdered all over again,” Abu Khdeir said in an interview with Ynet.
Nasser Dawabsha, the uncle of young Ali Dawabsha addressed the crowds at a rally against incitement, hatred and violence in Tel Aviv Saurday night. He described the horror that befell the family.
“I want to ask [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, and I want an answer […] Why was Ali murdered? 18 months old. He’s innocent. What did he do to the IDF and the settlers? Ali is a shahid. We ask and hope that this will be the end of the suffering of our people.”
The attack in Duma began in the early hours of Friday morning. An initial probe indicated that two attackers smashed windows at the home of the Dawabsha and threw petrol bombs inside. Another home, which was empty, was also targeted.
The Hebrew words “Revenge” and “Long live the king messiah” were spray-painted on their walls, alongside a Star of David.
A gag order has been imposed on the investigation.