Monday, August 03, 2015

The worshippers of Molech, the killers of Ali Sa'ad Dawabshe

Banner near the house, with a photograph of Ali Sa'ad Dawabshe
I've never been inside a house where someone was murdered before.

Yesterday, I went to the Palestinian village of Duma, in the West Bank, to offer condolences to the relatives of the Dawabshe family, who were attacked last Friday early morning in their home. Unknown Jewish assailants threw firebombs into their house, including the bedroom. They killed the 1 1/2 old baby, Ali Sa'ad Dawabshe, and severely injured his brother Ahmed and his parents Sa'ad and Reham.

The bedroom where the family slept.
I went with an Israeli group called "Tag Meir" which means "Light Tag" and is a play on words for the slogan "Tag Mechir," which means "Price Tag." The term "Price Tag" is used by Israeli extremist settlers who take revenge on Palestinians when the Israeli government does anything in reference to settlers that they don't like.  For example, last week the government demolished two illegally built houses in the settlement of Beit El. One possibility is that the Dawabshe family was attacked in revenge for the government action. This possibility is strengthened by the fact that the word נקמה ("Revenge") was written on the wall near the firebombed home.

These extremists also attack churches and mosques, both in Israel and in the occupied territories. Tag Meir goes and visits Christian and Muslim holy sites that have been desecrated by Jewish religious fanatics, as well as other places that have been attacked.

Haaretz has a chilling article in today's newspaper about a Settler Terror Underground that Seeks to Overthrow the Israeli Government.
Investigators into Friday’s murder-by-arson of a Palestinian infant increasingly believe in the likelihood that the extreme rightist operatives responsible for the attack are affiliated with the same ideological group that  has torched mosques, churches and Palestinian homes over the past year.   
The group's core consists of several dozen people whose operations are centered in West Bank outposts but wander all over the country, including within the Green Line.
Unlike in the past, the understanding is that these assailants are no longer attempting to deter the government and security forces from evacuating outposts and settlements. 
Nowadays they have more ambitious aims, like destabilizing the country and overthrowing the government to establish a new regime to be based on halakha, Jewish law. They plan to use violence in a systematic, continuous manner irrespective of police conduct in the territories, investigators said. 
This ideological shift among this gang of violent young Jewish fanatics once referred to as “price tag” activists or “hilltop youth” was identified by the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Police late last year. The terrorists came to the conclusion that mosque fires were old hat, and that a broader approach was needed. 
Some of these ideas were expressed in a document confiscated from Moshe Orbach, 24, of Bnei Brak, who was charged last week in the torching of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes on the Kinneret shore. He had written the document, titled “The Kingdom of Evil,” which lays the ideological foundation for escalating the attacks against religious sites and Arabs, and offers practical suggestions for how to avoid surveillance and questioning....
The ideological change that was identified last year provided a new framework for attacks against Palestinians and religious institutions. According to the agencies monitoring them, the operatives present an "anarchist, anti-Zionist" world view and justify violent attacks, including ones that cause casualties, as means toward destabilizing the state, undermining Israel's  social institutions and democratic government, and advancing a revolution that would set up a new Israeli "kingdom" that would operate in accordance with Jewish law.  
The drafters of this new Jewish insurgent ideology are not in regular contact with rabbis and do not feel the need for halakhic rulings to justify their actions. They see rabbis once perceived as extremist as having become too “establishment.” They stress the need for emotional resilience, both as they act and if they are subject to police and Shin Bet interrogations. They reject any attempt to impose on them any authority. 
Another dangerous change is that they now justify the killing of Arabs during attacks on houses and religious institutions, and are willing to demonstrate “self-sacrifice,” including the acceptance of long prison terms, to promote their goals. Some have even been saving money in case they are imprisoned for a long period. When a Palestinian home was torched near Dura in the South Hebron Hills six months ago (the family managed to escape), a structure on the grounds of the Dormition Church in Jerusalem was burned, and the church along the Kinneret was set alight, it seems the arsonists knew that people were inside, unlike in most past arsons, which were committed at night when the buildings were empty. 
In various documents and statements, these young settlers speak of creating chaos in the country by intensifying the friction over what they identify as the country’s vulnerabilities. While the Jewish terror organization that operated in the West Bank in the beginning of the previous decade (whose members were never put in prison) dealt with shooting attacks targeting Palestinian cars, the new Jewish terrorists are looking for targets that they describe as “explosive”: the Temple Mount, “eliminating idolatry” by torching mosques and churches, and “expelling the non-Jews” by systematically attacking them. The assailants also talk about inciting against government systems and imposing religious strictures in public spaces, particularly with regard to women’s modesty.
"May the king Messiah live" - this is a slogan of messianist members of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who believe that the last Lubavitcher Rebbe is the Messiah, even though he died in 1994.
Today's visit was originally intended to include going to the mourner's tent to offer our condolences to the relatives of the Dawabshe family. Instead, we went to the burned house itself, and were able to enter and see the burned remains of the interior, including the living room, where all the furniture was tossed about, the entry room, where the television had been partially melted, the kitchen, which was black with smoke, and the bedroom, where the partially burned bedding was strewn about.  The murderers threw firebombs into the bedroom, where the family was sleeping.

Standing in the bedroom, looking at the burned up bedding and the springs from the bed, I had the same feeling as when I visited Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks - just blank incomprehension. How could people do such an evil thing? Firebomb a sleeping family in the middle of the night - an attack that was bound to severely injure and kill the people there. How could anyone do such a thing?

The people who did this undoubtedly think of themselves as religious Jews, as worshipping God in the correct manner. After the murder, they probably read the Torah reading for this past Shabbat, including the commandment: "You shall not murder." How could they read those words without thinking of themselves? The god they really worship is Molech, who demanded the sacrifice of children.

The door to the living room, thrown down.
The living room - sofas, and a child's carriage.
The burned out kitchen.
Onions, spilled out on the floor of the kitchen.
The destroyed bedroom, with a photographer from a news organization in the corner.
The attackers also threw firebombs into the house next door, but fortunately injured no one because the house was empty. The damage was, however, also quite extensive.

Front of the house next door - the room thoroughly destroyed by fire.
Another view into the same room.
Further inside the house next door - chairs and a table still in place.
After we visited the two houses, the leader of Tag Meir, Gadi Gvaryahu, and one of the village leaders (I don't know his name) spoke together. The village leader spoke about how the village was constantly subject to attack by settlers from nearby settlements, and Gadi spoke of the sense of shame that he and other Jews had over the murder of Ali Dawabshe.

Conversation outside the house.
After this conversation, Gadi said that we should leave Duma before going to the mourning tent, because there were people in the village who were angry that we Jews had come into the village.  So we went on our way out.

Banner outside the Dawabshe house, with two men from the village council depicted.
But just before I got on the bus, a girl from a family who was watching people coming from the burned house offered water to those passing by. She came up to me and pressed the bottle into my hand, and I went over to the other members of her family to say thank you, and apologize, and we had a short conversation. It was clear that they, at least, were glad that we had come.

Leaving the village.
Olive trees along the road from Duma.


  1. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for being there. Many of us would have been there if we could have.