Palestinian toddler burned to death in ‘settler’ arson attack

A Palestinian toddler was burned to death and four family members wounded in an arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers on two homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday.
The attack added to tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, sparking protests by hundreds of people and sporadic clashes, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a rare call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a bid to avoid further escalation.
While Netanyahu called the firebombing in Duma village near the northern city of Nablus “an act of terrorism in every respect”, the Palestine Liberation Organisation said it held his government “fully responsible”.
The death of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha was “a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism”, the PLO said in a statement.
Abbas called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The US State Department condemned the “vicious terrorist attack” in “the strongest possible terms,” urging Israel to “apprehend the murderers” and calling on both sides to “avoid escalating tensions”.
As Palestinian protests spread following the main weekly prayers in West Bank mosques, Israeli troops shot and wounded one protester during clashes in the city of Hebron, the army said.
Several thousand people also took to the streets in Duma for the funeral of the toddler, whose body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag.
The family’s small home of brick and concrete was blackened and gutted by fire, a Star of David along with “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” spray-painted in Hebrew on the walls.
According to Palestinian security officials, four suspected settlers set fire to the house at the entrance to the village before dawn and fled to a nearby Jewish settlement.
The masked assailants reportedly hurled Molotov cocktails through the home’s windows which were left open because of the summer heat.