Israeli violence against Palestinians is no new thing. Even then, the recent arson attack by Israeli settlers against the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma in the West Bank, in which an 18-month baby, Ali, and his father, Saad, 32, were burnt to death has renewed shock over atrocities against Palestinians. But what does one say about a nation which openly threatens civilians of other nations? Recently, Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon actually implied that Israel may assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists in an attempt to halt or delay the ‘Iranian attempt to make a nuclear bomb’. This, despite the historic deal between Iran and western nations, led by the US, which renewed hope that the issue would be resolved peacefully, and not by waging another war, as Israel insists. With that kind of impunity at the international level, it is no wonder that Israeli settlers have become a new threat, apparently with no law to check them, for ordinary Palestinians.
“My heart is burned,” Saad’s mother, Rehab Zaid, told a media outlet about the fire-attack which left the father and baby dead. Sure, this was so barbaric that even the Israeli government issued a statement calling it an ‘act of terror’. This is a bit like a serial murderer calling a killing by a family member as a wrong thing. While demonstrations raged in Occupied Gaza and the West Bank against this horrific attack, it remains a fact that Israeli settlers have committed such outrages before and, given the virtual protection by the law of their government, will carry out more. Last year, for example, a 16-year old Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped from his home in East Jerusalem, and then burnt alive by Israeli settlers. No wonder, a member of the Dawabsheh family told the same media outlet that such attacks will “happen again. It happened before, it has happened now and it will happen in the future.”
Settler violence is another factor that now terrorises Palestinians. A UN agency, in fact, has recorded 120 incidents of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem this year. Another rights group says 42 acts of settler violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem occurred between January and May 2015. Meanwhile, as Palestinians are now burnt alive in their homes, when not bombed or shot or evicted from their homes, the West continues to pat Israel for its ‘fight against terror’. This outrage, this disgrace, must, and will, end one day.