Nablus: thousands mourn slain infant’s mother

Thousands of Palestinians took part in the funeral of Riham Dawabsha, 27, who died overnight Sept. 6 after succumbing to wounds she sustained more than a month ago in an arson attack that killed her husband and 18-month-old son. The funeral march set off from the entrance of Duma village in southern Nablus and proceeded to the village cemetery. Dawabsha was given a military funeral as members of the Palestinian Authority security forces headed the march. The mother of two was buried next to her husband and son who were laid to rest last month. Dawabsha died hours after her birthday, while her husband died on Aug. 8, the couple's wedding anniversary. Mourners held Palestinian flags and the flags of Palestinian political factions in addition to signs demanding national unity, while others called for revenge and demanded the Israeli government find and hold the attackers accountable.

Dozens of students from Jurish School for Girls, where Dawabsha worked as a mathematics teacher, took part in the funeral, in addition to hundreds of teachers, as the Nablus Directorate of Education suspended the school day to give students and teachers a chance to take part. The governor of Nablus, Akram al-Rujoub, the PA Minister of Education, Sabri Seidam, and representatives of national and Islamic factions took part in the funeral, in addition to members of the national and legislative councils and heads of PA institutions.

Israeli settlers smashed the windows of two homes in Duma July 31, before throwing flammable liquids and Molotov cocktails inside, killing infant Ali, who was trapped inside the house, and critically injuring the other family members. Following the incident, Israeli authorities arrested a number of extremist settlers without charge, but later released nearly all the suspects. The perpetrators of the attack have still not been arrested by Israeli authorities.

Israeli settlers have carried out at least 142 attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Only 1.9% of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks result in a conviction, the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din reports.

From Ma'an News Agency, Sept. 7

  1. Israeli MK: burning Palestinian boys is not act of terror

    Israeli MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) published a column in the B’Sheva weekly newspaper, saying that the attacks carried out by extremist Israeli settlers, including "price tag" attacks should not classified as terrorism. "Terrorism is only violence carried out by an enemy within the framework of war against us, and only that justifies taking severe steps who are out of place in normal situations,"  he wrote, "all the rest are serious crimes, abominable crime, nationalist crime, but not terrorism." (Days of Palestine, Dec. 12, Haaretz, Dec. 10, 2015)

  2. Israeli convicted of deadly West Bank arson attack

    An Israeli court has convicted a Jewish settler of murdering three members of a Palestinian family in a 2015 arson attack in the occupied West Bank. Judges found Amiram Ben Uliel threw a firebomb into a home in the village of Duma, killing Saad and Riham Dawabsha and their 18-month-old son Ali. Ahmed, another son who was then four, suffered severe injuries but survived.

    Ben Uliel was found guilty of attempted murder, but acquitted of belonging to a terrorist organisation. His lawyers said he planned to appeal against the convictions at the Supreme Court, arguing that investigators forced him to make a false confessions. (BBC News)