Nasser Dawabsha, whose baby nephew Ali Dawabsha was burned to death in an alleged Jewish terrorist attack in the Palestinian village of Duma on Friday morning, described on Saturday the horror that befell the family and called for “an end to the suffering.”
Nasser 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.
When the family tried to escape their burning house, he said, baby Ali’s mother Riham grabbed a blanket she believed contained her baby. Only once she was outside did she realize he was not in it.
“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? 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.
“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.
Nasser said the Palestinian people condemn the killing of people in any form. “My brother Sa’ad is a calm man who loved life, wanted to live in peace and build the strongest and best family possible.”
Ali’s mother Riham and brother Ahmad, 4, are both being treated at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv, where a spokeswoman Saturday described their condition as life-threatening.
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 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.