Baby burned to death as Jewish extremists attack Palestinian home in West Bank

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Graffiti reading in Hebrew ‘revenge’ seen on the wall of the fire damaged house in the West Bank village of Douma near Nablus City, 31 July 2015 (EPA Photo)

A Palestinian toddler was killed at dawn on Friday after suffering severe burns following an attack by Jewish extremists on a village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, a medical source told Anadolu Agency.

“Ali Saeed Dawabsheh, 1, was burned to death after Jewish settlers attacked a house in Duma village in the West Bank’s southern city of Nablus,” Abed Al-Rahim Susia, director of the Rafedia Hospital Center in Nablus, told Anadolu Agency. “Three other family members [the child’s parents and his brother] arrived at the hospital suffering from second and third degree burns.”

Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of the settlements file, said the attack was carried out by Jewish settlers belonging to a militant group called “Price Tag.”

“The settlers attacked two houses in the village with Molotov cocktails and wrote racist slogans in Hebrew before fleeing from the scene,” Daghlas told Anadolu Agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was shocked. “This is a terrorist attack. Israel takes firm action against terrorism, no matter who its perpetrators are,” he said in a statement, adding that “all means” would be used to bring the assailants to justice.

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said an investigation was underway and called the attack “nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian presidency held the Israeli government responsible for the attack.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel was responsible. “Such a crime would not have occurred if the Israeli government did not insist on pursuing settlements and protecting settlers,” Nabil Abu Rdainah said in a statement on the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, the Palestinians have limited self rule, but nearly 60 percent of the territory remains under full control of the Israeli military.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law. Despite international community’s pressure on Israel against the illegal settlements, Israeli PM Netanyahu on Wednesday approved the “immediate” construction of 300 settler homes in the occupied West Bank as his government came under pressure from right-wing Jewish groups.

“After consultations in the prime minister’s office, the immediate construction of 300 homes in Beit El has been authorised,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said, adding that planning for another 504 homes in annexed East Jerusalem had also been approved.

Meanwhile, Israel reportedly approved 1,065 housing units last week on the occupied territories, according to the Israeli settlement watchdog group Peace Now.

Furthermore, in July 2014, Israel launched an offensive military attack against the Gaza Strip, which killed, according to official United Nations figures, 2,104 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, of whom 495 were children and 253 women.

During the Israeli war on Gaza 69 Israelis, including four civilians, were also killed. Israeli Defense Forces launched the “Operation Protective Edge” on July 8, 2014 and the war continued for 50 days, during which 108,000 people had their homes destroyed or severely damaged as a result of thousands of artillery and tank shells fired into mostly residential areas of Gaza.

In addition, public buildings such as schools and hospitals were also among the places attacked by Israeli airstrikes.

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