Early Thursday morning, two suspected Jewish settlers entered the West Bank Palestinian village of Douma. They threw Molotov cocktails into two houses and spray-painted “Revenge” and “Long live the king messiah” in Hebrew and a Star of David on the walls. The aftermath of the fire was horrific. A 1 ½ year old child, named Ali Dawabsha, was burned to death. His parents and brother are currently hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns covering the majority of their bodies.
As Israelis and Palestinians mourned the loss, the NIF-convened Tag Meir coalition organized a trip to the village in order to show their solidarity with the bereaved and to provide whatever comfort was possible to the villagers. More than 100 Israelis took part in the visit. The simple act of a solidarity visit can help bridge the divide between Israelis and Palestinians.
Amid the ashes of the nursery, a charred tricycle and toys were found. They met with relatives of the family who had been attacked and bore witness to the terrible crime that had been committed there.
Arson has become a popular tactic among Price Tag — violence by radical settlers imposing a “cost” on divergence from their political agenda – attackers in the last few years, but very few have resulted in convictions. Since 2009, there have been 43 mosques and churches set on fire or vandalized by Jewish extremists, but perpetrators were indicted for only one of those incidents.
Though it was a very difficult trip, Tag Meir Chairman Gadi Gvaryahu said it was vital that Jews come to show respect to the family. “It was important for us to come look in their eyes and say, ‘This is the worst thing a person from our nation could do,’” Gvaryahu said. “To say that we’re sorry, that we’re shocked. It’s not a mistake to come and meet people and ask forgiveness.”