Thomas Wictor

A mutual dance of destruction

A mutual dance of destruction

Until today, I had no idea how many Israelis and Jews waltz with the Palestinians in a mutual dance of destruction. When I heard that an 18-month-old infant named Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed after his house in Duma, Nablus, was set on fire, I expected the world’s Jew-haters to vomit out their poison. However, I was totally unprepared for way Israelis and Jews agreed with the hate being spewed at them.

The murderers are said to be Israeli settlers, committing a “price-tag attack.”

This policy refers to acts of random violence aimed at the Palestinian population and Israeli security forces by radical Israeli settlers, who, according to The New York Times, “exact a price from local Palestinians or from the Israeli security forces for any action taken against their settlement enterprise.” The Wall Street Journal states that the term refers to “a campaign of retribution by fundamentalist Israeli youths against Palestinians in the West Bank.”

This is the tone that world’s press took.

Authorities found the words “price tag” on the walls of the house in Duma, said Luba Samri, a spokeswoman for Israeli police.

Both Israelis and Palestinians described it as a terrorist attack, but the latter said it blamed Israel.

“We hold the Israeli government fully responsible for the brutal assassination of the toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha,” PLO official Saeb Erekat said in a statement. “This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism.”

Ahmad Asaf , a spokesman for Palestinian political party Fatah, also blamed the attack on the Israeli government. He urged the United Nations to take steps toward justice.

A preliminary investigation shows suspects entered the village at night, set homes ablaze and sprayed graffiti on them.

Nobody handed out candy afterward, the way Palestinians do when Israelis are murdered.


I’ve never in my life seen such unwarranted self-loathing expressed as I saw today. And I have to be honest: The Israeli and Jewish reaction to this crime makes me sick. All day on social media, Israelis and Jews were talking about how they need to do serious soul searching, that this act makes them ashamed to be Jewish.

An Israeli told me that the sins of one Jew are shared by all Jews.

Okay: I have several close relatives who are murderers. Does that make me a murderer too? Where’s the justice in that? Why am I to be condemned for something I didn’t do? And why are Israelis even listening to Palestinian leaders? They butcher their own children. Why hang your head and let them berate you? Send commando teams after the settler terrorists. Kill them in ambushes. Do something proactive instead of wringing your hands.

This is what I did: I cut myself off from my criminal relatives. Because they’re unrepentant monsters, I have no connection to them. I’ve abstracted them out of existence. They got everything they deserved. I wish it had been much more; if it were up to me, I’d guillotine them myself.

One Jewish person pointed out that the Jewish tradition of tarring all Jews with the same brush is what Jew-haters do.

That’s exactly right. Who needs the world accusing Jews of being evil when the Jews are doing it themselves? If the Jews are all to blame for the actions of a tiny handful of maniacs, then that means we can blame all Muslims for the actions of a tiny handful of maniacs, right? Right.

What is it about Judaism that makes so many people—including Jews—insane? I read an op-ed today that immediately struck me as phony. The writer is Avi Issacharoff.

It just seemed too histrionic, blubbering, and sanctimonious to be real.

The killing of Ali Saad Dawabsha will not be the last

Op-Ed: Friday’s murderous arson attack was not the first of its kind, as I can personally testify. And the perpetrators are confident nobody is going to stop them

In December 2008, I found myself caught up in a potentially similar situation — an effort by Jewish settler extremists to burn down a Palestinian home with its residents inside. The incident took place around the time of the Israeli court-ordered evacuation of settlers from the Hebron house known as Beit Hameriva, or “house of contention,” when I was reporting for the Haaretz daily.

I saw flames rising from a distant Palestinian home in a wadi between the settlement of Kiryat Arba and Hebron. Together with the female photographer who was accompanying me, I rushed toward it.

We could hear screaming. And we could see around 100 settlers standing around the home and, to my horror, throwing stones at the Palestinians who were trying to escape from the burning building. It was an attempt at a pogrom. I spotted two soldiers as we headed over, and asked them to intervene. They said they were responsible for an entire district and couldn’t deal with the incident.

We came closer still, and eventually, along with several other photographers, we got into the building — under a hail of stones. Inside we found hysterical Palestinian women, and terrified men, all certain they were about to die. I remember one woman in particular, her face an expression of horror, screaming “Allahu Akbar” and pleading that we save her.

I tried to go back out and shout at the stone-throwers to stop, but they kept on throwing stones at us too. All this time, the flames were spreading. Some of the Jewish spectators were advising the stone-throwers where to target the trapped Palestinians. They were not trying to halt the attack.

It took 20 minutes for Israeli security forces to reach the house and extricate us all.

The original Haaretz article is no longer available on the newspaper’s site, but after much searching I found it here.

An innocent Palestinian family, numbering close to 20 people. All of them women and children, save for three men. Surrounding them are a few dozen masked Jews seeking to lynch them. A pogrom. This isn’t a play on words or a double meaning. It is a pogrom in the worst sense of the word. First the masked men set fire to their laundry in the front yard and then they tried to set fire to one of the rooms in the house. The women cry for help, “Allahu Akhbar.” Yet the neighbors are too scared to approach the house, frightened of the security guards from Kiryat Arba who have sealed off the home and who are cursing the journalists who wish to document the events unfolding there.

The cries rain down, much like the hail of stones the masked men hurled at the Abu Sa’afan family in the house. A few seconds tick by before a group of journalists, long accustomed to witnessing these difficult moments, decide not to stand on the sidelines. They break into the home and save the lives of the people inside…

Ten minutes prior, while the security forces were preoccupied with dispersing the rioters near the House of Contention, black smoke billowed from the wadi separating Kiryat Arba and Hebron. For some reason, none of the senior officers of the police or the army were particularly disturbed by what was transpiring at the foot of Kiryat Arba. Anyone standing hundreds of meters away could notice the dozens of rioters climbing atop the roof of the Abu Sa’afan family home, hurling stones. Only moments later did it become apparent that there were people inside the home.

I quickly descend to the wadi and accost three soldiers. “What do you want from me? The three of us are responsible for the entire sector here,” one said, his hand gesturing towards the entire wadi.

“Use your radio to request help,” I said. He replies that he is not equipped with a radio.

A group of journalists approach the house. A dilemma. What to do? There are no security forces in the vicinity and now the Jewish troublemakers decided to put the journalists in their crosshairs. We call for the security guards from Kiryat Arba to intervene and put a halt to the lynch. But they surround the home to prevent the arrival of “Palestinian aid.”

The home is destroyed and the fear is palpable on the faces of the children. One of the women, Jihad, is sprawled on the floor, half-unconscious. The son, who is gripping a large stick, prepares for the moment he will be forced to face the rioters. Tahana, one of the daughters, refuses to calm down. “Look at what they did to the house, look.”

Tess, the photographer, bursts into tears as the events unfold around her. The tears do not stem from fear. It is shame, shame at the sight of these occurrences, the deeds of youths who call themselves Jews. Shame that we share the same religion. At 5:05 P.M., a little over an hour after the incident commenced, a unit belonging to the Yassam special police forces arrives to disperse the crowd of masked men.

Quite a different version of events, eh? I spent several hours trying to locate photos of the Abu Sa’afan home being burned on December 4, 2008. This is the closest I came.

A larger version shows a distinctive arrangement of clothing on the line (red arrow).

I was able to find this scene from another angle. You can see the same arrangement of clothing on the line (red arrow).

Obviously the house wasn’t set on fire, and it didn’t burn down. This is the B’Tselem video of the incident that Avi Issacharoff described.

The B’Tselem report says this.

A particularly severe attack occurred in Hebron’s Wadi al-Hussein neighborhood, by the house of the al-Matariyeh and Abu Sa’ifan families… A settler fired at three members of the al-Matariyeh family from close range, wounding them.

Following the shooting, dozens of settlers attacked the houses of the two families and their neighbors. They threw stones at the houses, climbed onto the roofs and damaged solar-heated water tanks and satellite dishes, and set fires near the houses and on farmland.

According to the video and B’Tselem, the fires were set NEAR the homes. No house was burned down. And the security forces were right there, using stun grenades to clear away the settlers. Do you see hundreds of onlookers?

You know, loudly and publicly inflating your “wrongdoing” is just as self-aggrandizing as boasting about your moral superiority. Most of the commentary on the murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha is just ritualized posturing.

Doesn’t he deserve more than that?

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