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  • Palestinian women look at the damage at the Dawabsha family

    Palestinian women look at the damage at the Dawabsha family's home in the West Bank village of Duma on Aug. 4, 2015, after it was burned by Jewish extremists. | Photo: AFP

Nearly two years after the harrowing ordeal, relatives of the Palestinian family are filing a lawsuit against the state of Israel.

The arsonists left the following messages on the walls of the house they targeted in their arson attack: “Long live the Messiah” and “Revenge.”

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In the hate crime attack by Jewish settlers in the village of Kafr Duma in the occupied West Bank in July 2015, 18-month-old Ali Saad was killed immediately, while his parents were seriously injured in the blaze and died in the hospital months later.

The sole survivor was 6-year-old Ahmed, who also spent several months in the hospital being treated for his severe burns and now lives with a permanent disability.

Nearly two years after the ordeal, relatives of the Palestinian family are filing a lawsuit against Israel, suing the apartheid state for criminal negligence.

Relatives of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha, who died after his house was set on fire by Jewish settlers, mourn next to his body, July 31, 2015.


"Today we filed a complaint with the Nazareth district court demanding the state of Israel be held responsible for the burning of the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma in the West Bank," lawyer Hassan al-Khatib, who represents the family, told AFP.

Israel created “a hothouse and place for groups of lawbreakers to plan and prepare to carry out hate crimes against the Palestinian residents of the area,” the suit stated, adding that Israel should be held accountable for “criminal negligence” that led to the attack, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Ahmed’s uncle Nasser Dawabsha told AFP that the family is seeking an admission of responsibility from the state, as well as 16 million shekels, or about US$4.4 million, in damages.

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“The child Ahmed suffers from a disability," he added, as well as "medical and psychological incapacity from the loss of his father, mother and brother."

In relation to the attack, 21-year-old Amiram Ben-Uliel, from the northern West Bank settlement of Shilo, was charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder, arson and conspiracy to commit a hate crime.

Another person, a 17-year-old whose name remains under a gag order, was also charged with being an accessory to committing the racially-motivated murder.

An Israeli defense official said the Dawabsha family would be ineligible for compensation that applies to terror victims since it is only open for Israeli citizens, adding that they would have to apply to an alternative committee that compensates people who have suffered from so-called nationalist attacks.

“We will present a complaint against the state, because we view it as responsible for this act of murder — whether in accordance with international law or the law of the state of Israel,” Tawfiq Muhammed from the Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, advocating for the family, told Israeli Channel 2.


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