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Indictments in Duma firebombing signal strength of Israeli society

Indictments in Duma firebombing signal strength of Israeli society

Soul-searching and crackdown on Jewish terrorism

Israel has indicted the primary suspects in the firebombing in the village of Duma which killed baby Ali Dawabsha and his parents, and badly burned his brother.

The Times of Israel reports:

Posecutors filed indictments Sunday against two Jewish suspects, 21-year old Amiram Ben-Uliel of Jerusalem and an unnamed minor, in a July terror attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family.

On July 31, a firebomb attack on the home of the Dawabsha family in the West Bank village of Duma led to the immediate death of toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha. Parents Riham and Saad succumbed to their wounds in the hospital within weeks of the attack. Five-year-old Ahmed, Ali’s brother, remains hospitalized in Israel and faces a long rehabilitation.

The indictments mark a key breakthrough in the case, which shocked Israelis and led to unprecedented measures against Jewish terror suspects, including a cabinet vote to extend to Israeli citizens counter-terrorism practices such as detention without trial.

The firebombing allegedly was in retaliation for an earlier Palestinian attack that killed an Israeli, according to The Times of Israel report:

Ben-Uliel is charged with murder in the Duma attack. The minor — who cannot be named under rules protecting minors suspected of criminal acts — faces charges of accessory to the murder.

According to investigators, Ben-Uliel, who is married with a baby girl, admitted to carrying out the Duma firebombing, and said he did it to avenge the killing of Malachy Rosenfeld by a Palestinian terrorist in June.

The Times of Israel also obtained this video reenactment:

Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, admitted his crime to Shin Bet investigators and reenacted parts of it on December 19, the agency said. That information, however, was kept from the public under a gag order until Sunday when the indictments were filed.

We covered the story at the time of the firebombing, In Memory of Ali Dawabsheh and Hadas Fogel:

Today was one of those terrible days I’m glad I was traveling for.

That seems to be a pattern for me; I was traveling on the day of the Newtown, CT school shooting, and other incidents that I don’t have time to dig out of the archives.

Very early, before 5 a.m. Eastern (when I left the house,) I saw tweets about a firebombing of a house near Nablus in which a very young child, Ali Dawabsheh (one and one-half) was murdered.

While the perpetrators have not been captured as of this writing, the Israeli government and IDF are calling it an act of “Jewish terrorism.” The word “revenge” was spray painted on the wall in Hebrew. Ali’s father Saad and mother Riham, and 4-year-old brother Ahmad, are in the hospital in very serious condition with life-threatening burns.

The attack was condemned by all facets of Israeli society including the Prime Minister and political leaders, as well as Jewish organizations around the world. There is a lot of soul searching going on.

By the time my travel ended mid-afternoon, the internet was behaving as the internet does, with political gain and exploitation being sought all around.

When I heard the news, I recalled the 2011 murder of the Fogel family, in which five of sevenfamily members were stabbed to death: Udi Fogel, 36, Ruth Fogel, 35, and their children Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and three-month-old Hadas.

[Ali Dawabsheh and Hadas Fogel]

[Ali Dawabsheh and Hadas Fogel]

These are indictments that anti-Israel activists claimed would never happen. That Israel never would prosecute Jewish terrorists.

The indictments and the forceful Israeli crackdown on a fringe group is a measure of health of Israeli society, which has almost universally condemned Jewish terror.

By contrast, Palestinian society almost universally praises and honors killers of Israeli children, like the Samir Kuntar, and the many others suicide bombers and terrorists who get streets named after them and are glorified as martyrs.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir cropped

After another Jewish terrorist revenge murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir following the kidnapping and presumed murders of three Israeli teens, I made the point Israeli reaction to murder of teen a sign of Israel’s moral strength:

Israel is undergoing intense soul searching, as a nation, for the actions of what are believed to be 6 Israeli Jews in murdering an Israeli Arab teen, Mohammed Abu Khedair, in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel.

Much of that criticism is internal. Members of Israel’s Knesset unanimously condemned the murder, as has every prominent Israeli leader.

The Editor in Chief of The Times of Israel writes that ” the killing of Muhammed Abu Khdeir must rid us of the illusion that we enjoy a distinctive moral superiority over our neighbors.” An Israeli Jewish group is organizing a visit to the family of the murdered teen.

Israeli President Shimon Peres termed the murder a crisis of morality

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau personally called the family to express his disgust and to promise that the full force of the justice system will be brought to bear.

This reaction from Israeli society is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.

Where was there a similar Palestinian societal soul searching over the murders of the kidnapped teens? Where was the international hand wringing that Palestinian society has gone morally astray?

There will be no such soul searching not just over the murder of the kidnapped Israeli teens, but over the murder of Shelly Dadon ….

The murder victims are morally equivalent. None of the five were engaged in criminal conduct, and each was murdered out of religious hate. Their families grieve equally.

But just because the murder victims are morally equivalent, does not mean that the societies are equivalent in how they treat their murderers…. Every society has its murderers. How the societies react is the true test of morality.

(For more on Shelly Dadon, see my post, The ‘I Can’t Breathe’ case you never heard of.)

After the Abu Khdeir murder, pro-Israel bloggers (including me) signed an unequivocal joint statement condemning the murder, something we’ve never seen from anti-Israel bloggers and activists when Jews, including Jewish children, are murdered.  See my post, Anti-Israel bloggers assume we hate like they hate — they are wrong.

The hand-wringing and soul-searching in Israel will continue as the case heads to trial. Which is a good thing.


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higher moral conduct is the hallmark of a better society. Not suicidal, but held to better conduct by their own morals

I am pleased but not at all surprised that the Israeli government has responded in this manner. Although Americans have led the way in inventing procedures to guarantee equal justice under the laws, they got the idea from the Brits, who in turn relied on a certain Jewish rabbi:

A lawyer asked “What shall I do to inherit eternal life” and the answer was “Love God, with your whole heart and strength and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Then the lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

The rabbi launched into a story about a man who fell among thieves, and the reactions of various people who mostly ignored him, except for one who picked him up, got him shelter and medical care. Then the rabbi asked, “Which of these was that man’s neighbor?” The answer was the one who took him in. And the rabbi said, “Go you and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29

We got it from Jesus, who got it from the rabbis of his own time. It is part of our shared heritage.

It’s the 98% of Arab muslim society that makes life difficult for the 2% who may be moral.

When the “leaders” of the Palestine organizations hand down indictments instead of handing out sweets on the news of terrorist atrocities, on that day the ME will begin to know peace.

But don’t hold your breath…

Principles matter. It looks like the “secular” pro-choice cult has failed to override better choices in Israel.

Religious/moral philosophy to keep honest people honest, and competing interest to prevent others from running amuck.

“The indictments and the forceful Israeli crackdown on a fringe group is a measure of health of Israeli society, which has almost universally condemned Jewish terror.”

You are leaving out some important facts that cast this whole matter in a different light. The Israel Attorney General admits he approved the torture of teenage boys. One confessed after sleep deprivation, beatings, sodomy.

Torture is supposed be illegal in Israel. But for a while it looks like the prosecutors were going to use a forced confession as evidence. Now it seems like the young boys were innocent after all, and have been released.

Administrative indefinite detention without charge. Secret evidence (actually no evidence). No trial ever. The administrative detention lasts six months, but can be renewed ad infinitum.

We don’t know Amiram Ben-Uliel did anything. His wife claims Shein Bet beat him until he confessed. Since they just recently tortured innocent people this accusation has credibility. In any case even the guilty deserve a trial. Even the guilty don’t deserved torture. Even the guilty are entitled to see the evidence against them.

None of my remarks should be construed to in any way approve, excuse, explain the horrible Duma arson. I expect to get attacked anyway. Don’t bother as I shall not reply.

As I life long and ardent supporter of Israel, I am appalled the government would torture people until they confessed. Healthy society? What a joke.

Signal strength of Israeli society? Only if there is some real basis for believing the accused to be guilty. The reports of torture and coerced confessions don’t promote confidence in that. Until and unless I see real evidence I will continue to think it more likely that this was just one more incident in the long-running inter-Arab gang dispute that the Dawabsha family was involved in. Mr Dawabsha was affiliated with Hamas, to the extent that he had got into hot water with the local Fatah machine over it. Who knows what else he was involved in?