Israel: not enough evidence to try killers of Palestinian family

Israel’s defence minister said there was still not enough evidence to try the Jewish extremists who firebombed a Palestinian home in July

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Israel’s defence minister said Tuesday there was still not enough evidence to try the Jewish extremists who firebombed a Palestinian home in July, killing a toddler and both his parents.

Israel has come under heavy pressure to try those responsible for the deadly arson, with rights groups questioning the delay in the case and contrasting it to the swift reaction often following Palestinian attacks.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon told army radio that Israel was determined to bring those responsible to trial, adding that he considered the arson “a Jewish terrorist act.”

But he also said evidence was still lacking nearly five months after the July 31 firebombing in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank despite the recent arrests of suspects in the case.

“We know who is responsible for this terrorist act, but do not have enough proof yet to try them,” he said.

On Dec. 3, Israeli authorities said they had arrested a number of alleged Jewish extremists over the firebombing.

They have not been publicly identified and there has been no indication they have been charged.

Israel’s high court on Sunday continued to deny lawyers’ access to three suspects, local media reported.

The Shin Bet domestic security agency can request a denial of access by lawyers for up to 21 days.

Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha and his parents were killed in the firebombing. The couple’s four-year-old son was the sole survivor from the immediate family.

A Star of David and the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” were spray-painted on a wall near the family’s small house.

The attack drew renewed attention to Jewish extremism and accusations Israel had not done enough to prevent such violence.
Young Jewish men from wildcat settlement outposts in the West Bank and known as the “hilltop youth” have been blamed for violence and vandalism targeting Palestinians, Christian holy sites and even Israeli military property.

Palestinians have often highlighted the lack of progress in the case as among the causes of a wave of knife, gun and car-ramming attacks targeting Israelis that began on Oct. 1.

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