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‘Ali is On the Grill’: Israeli Settlers Taunt Family of Palestinian Toddler Murdered in Arson Attack

Some 20 police officers reportedly stood by watching the hate chants, without intervening.

Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed when assailants firebombed his home at night

Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed when assailants firebombed his home at night. (AP)

Around two dozen right-wing Israeli settler youth were recorded on video taunting relatives of Ali Saad Dawabsheh, the 18-month-old Palestinian toddler murdered along with his parents in a July 2015 arson attack.

The Times of Israel reports the extremists chanted “Ali is burned, where is Ali, Ali is on the grill” as Hussein Dawabsheh, Ali’s grandfather, and Nasr Dawabsheh, the slain boy’s uncle, left a courthouse in Lod District following a June 19 ruling on the admissibility of confessions made by suspects in the deadly terror attack. Hussein and Nasr have been Ali’s legal guardians since the death of his parents. The men were accompanied by Arab Israeli lawmakers Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh, of the Joint List party.

"Where is Ali? Where is Reham? Where is Saad? It's too bad Ahmed didn't burn as well,” the youth chanted as they jubilantly danced. Ali’s father, 32-year-old Saad Dawabsheh, died four days after masked attackers firebombed his family home in Duma village in the illegally occupied West Bank on July 31, 2015. Ali’s mother, Reham Dawabsheh, 26, succumbed to her mortal injuries five weeks after the terror attack. Their son, Ahmed Dawabsha, who was 5 at the time, suffered severe burns and required months of treatment, but survived.

Some 20 police officers reportedly stood by watching the hate chants, without intervening.

"After Ali and Ahmed's uncle told them, 'Ali was just a child, and he is in heaven now,' [the extremists] continued dancing and chanting 'Ali was burned,’" Tibi told YNet News.

The news inside the courthouse wasn’t much better for the slain toddler’s surviving family, as a three-judge panel tossed out a confession by a teenager accused of involvement in the deadly attack after finding that his confession had been made under duress. Elisha Odess, a 17-year-old American Israeli from Tzofim, an illegal Jews-only settlement in the West Bank, alleges he was tortured by agents from Shin Bet, Israel’s internal state security agency. Shin Bet has denied the allegations.

The court also ruled that the confession of the primary suspect in the attack, 23-year-old Amiram Ben-Uliel — who was indicted in January 2016 on three counts of murder, attempted murder, arson and conspiracy to commit a racially motivated felony — would stand, since enough time had passed between his alleged torture and his admission.

The ugly scene outside the courthouse was reminiscent of a December 2015 wedding video showing a group of Orthodox Jews dancing frenetically with guns, knives and what appeared to be bombs while stabbing a photo of the murdered baby. That video was widely condemned, even by members of the Israeli far right, and led to the arrest several people who attended what some in the Israeli media dubbed the “hate wedding.”

Over the past decade, there have been over 1,000 “price tag” attacks carried out by right-wing Zionist extremists seeking to make innocent Palestinian men, women and children “pay” for any action seen as anti-settlement. This has alarmed even the United States, which has included “price tag” attacks along with Palestinian militant attacks in its annual State Department global terrorism reports.

More than 500,000 Jews currently reside in over 100 exclusive settlements built on Palestinian land seized by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. These colonies, which are often connected by roads on which only Jews may drive, are illegal under international law. Critics of Israeli policies and actions, including Palestinian and international human rights groups and prominent activist figures including Nobel peace laureates Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and others, have called Israel’s settlement activity and 51-year illegal occupation “apartheid.” Others, including former United Nations human rights official Richard Falk, go even further, accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing in Palestine.

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Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is editor-at-large for US news at Digital Journal. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace.

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