Israeli Extremists Burn Palestinian Baby To Death When They Firebomb West Bank Home

A Palestinian baby was burned to death when Israeli settlers firebombed two houses in what’s known as a price tag attack. The baby’s parents and four-year old child sustained severe burns and are currently in the hospital in the city of Nablus, in the West Bank. A local resident saw four settlers fleeing the area.

HAARETZ reports that Ghassan Douglas, the Palestinian Authority official who’s in charge of monitoring settlement activity there, said settlers threw firebombs into the house and spray-painted graffiti that read “Revenge” and “Long live the Messiah” on a nearby wall. This is the kind of tragedy that’s become commonplace in the occupied West Bank, and Palestinians must simply grin and bear it.

Price tag attacks are hate crimes that Israeli extremists carry out against Palestinian targets. The settlers who are often responsible for these attacks are Israeli settlers in an area that’s supposed to be Palestinian territory. Some in the world like to point out Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, but in 2014, there were 300 attacks against Palestinians, for an average of about six per week that we know about.

That’s not the only problem in the West Bank, either, and the death of this baby isn’t the only abuse of children at the hands of Israelis. The Israeli military likes to arrest and detain children, such as Amer Bajawi, a 14-year old child who sat in an Israeli detention center for almost two months awaiting his trial, which was to happen on July 28.

Bajawi and a friend were caught throwing stones at Israeli soldiers from an olive tree. For the first six hours after his arrest, Bajawi wasn’t allowed to use the toilet, and he was forced to sit, cuffed, on the floor of a military vehicle while being run from one center to another.

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This kind of abuse is institutionalized, and reforms that were supposed to put a stop to abuses, like those to which Bajawi was subjected, have been piecemeal and weak. Human Rights Watch put out a report saying that Israeli soldiers regularly violate the country’s own laws meant to protect children at the hands of the military. That’s to be expected, though, in the face of laws that are woefully inadequate to protect Palestinian children to begin with.

All of this speaks to a much deeper, much worse problem than some Israeli extremists and an out-of-control military. Israel has more or less turned a blind eye to settler violence against the Palestinians. Their reports of attacks get no attention; between 2005 and 2014, only 7.4 percent of those reports resulted in indictments against Israelis. The rest of the reports make nice dust collectors.

Another aspect is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s constant pandering to his right-wing allies. Israel’s supreme court ordered two apartment buildings to be demolished for being built without the proper permits. To appease the people who were angry about that order, Netanyahu authorized construction for 300 more apartment units within the same settlement, according to The New York Times. Indeed, the legality of the entire settlement is in question.

As for the Israeli military, there’s strong and increasing evidence that they intentionally and disproportionately targeted Palestinian civilians during the 2014 war in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera. Israel bombed residential areas in Rafah in response to one of their soldier’s capture. Amnesty International’s report says that Israel had ordered what was known as the “Hannibal Directive,” which allowed the military to use massive firepower on buildings in the area of the capture, regardless of the danger to civilians or even to the captured soldier.

The U.N. also found that Israel didn’t take precautions to minimize the danger to civilians in the attack, which lasted for days. The whole thing was motivated by revenge and a desire to punish the community of Rafah for the capture of their man.

Amnesty International is working to convince Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s investigation into that attack. This is despite the fact that Israel has utterly failed to conduct impartial investigations into what happened at Rafah. Is it any wonder that the world increasingly denounces Israel’s actions against Palestine (and their inaction when it comes to dealing with things like the price tag attacks)?

The peace process set into motion under then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former President George W. Bush is frozen under an increasingly militant Benjamin Netanyahu and an Israeli culture that doesn’t see Palestinians as human beings. Indeed, they seem to see Palestinians, and all Arabs, as last-class citizens at best and a threat to be wiped out at worst.

For now, Palestinians can continue to enjoy subhuman treatment and getting told to be grateful for it. That includes seeing their children killed in price tag attacks, further illegal settlements and human rights abuses by the military.

Featured image by Magne Hagesæter РOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons