West Bank riots flare up after Palestinian baby’s funeral


(JTA) — An Israeli policeman was lightly wounded in one of several riots and attacks by Palestinians following the funeral of a baby who died in a fire near Nablus allegedly started by Jewish extremists.

The officer was wounded in eastern Jerusalem when he was hit by a stone hurled by a Palestinian during a riot near the Temple Mount on Friday, Army Radio reported. Security forces arrested a suspect in connection with the incident.

Separately, unidentified individuals opened fire on an Israeli vehicle near the West Bank settlement of Kochav Hashachar. The car was hit by bullets, but the people inside were not hurt.

In a third incident, rioters in the Jerusalem-area Palestinian village of Isawiya threw firebombs and stones at police officers, resulting in no injuries.

The attacks occurred hours after the burial of Ali Saad Dawabsha, an 18-month-old boy, who died in the arson at his home in the village of Duma. The arsonists left Hebrew-language graffiti about revenge at the site; Israeli police suspect Jewish extremists caused the fire.

Several of Dawabsha’s relatives, including his parents, were injured in the blaze. His 4-year-old brother has burns on 60 percent of his body.

The arson occurred amid a string of violent attacks by Jewish extremists, including a near-fatal stabbing at the Jerusalem gay pride parade Thursday and the torching last month of a church in the Galilee.

In a statement to Palestinian media following the arson, Hamas said that “now every Israeli is a legitimate target,” according to Maariv. The terrorist group, which runs the Gaza Strip, also called for “a day of rage” to protest the killing and to “defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the Dawabsha family at the Israeli hospital where several of them are recovering, spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the phone Friday and said that everyone in Israel was shocked by the “reprehensible terrorism against the Dawabsha family,” his office wrote in a statement.

“We must fight terrorism together regardless of which side it comes from,” said Netanyahu, adding that he had ordered the security forces to use all measures to locate the murderers.

Abbas’ spokesman has blamed Israel’s settlement policy for the killing and vowed to bring the case to the International Criminal Court.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement released in both Hebrew and Arabic that Israel had not done enough to combat Jewish extremists.

“I feel a sense of shame, and moreover a sense of pain,” the statement said. “Pain over the murder of a small baby. Pain that from my people, there are those who have chosen the path of terrorism, and have lost their humanity.”

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