PLO holds Israeli government responsible; Israeli official says Israel "absolutely" condemns attack
The woman's 4-year-old son is the only survivor, but he is in critical condition
The whole family was burned in the July 31 "price tag" attack
A Palestinian mother severely burned in an arson attack that claimed the lives of her husband and toddler has died of her injuries, a family member said Sunday – leaving the family’s 4-year-old son as the only survivor.
Reham Dawabsheh had been in critical condition since the July 31 attack with burns to 80% of her body. Her brother-in-law, Nasser Dawabsheh, told CNN she died Saturday.
The suspected “price tag” attack on the family’s home in the West Bank killed Reham Dawabsheh’s 18-month-old son, Ali Saad. Her husband, Saad, died of his injuries about a week later.
The couple’s other son, Ahmad, was also burned over 80% of his body and remains in critical condition.
Authorities found the words “price tag” written in Hebrew on the walls of the family’s house in Duma, said Luba Samri, a spokeswoman for Israeli police.
“Price tag” attacks denote crimes by radical Israeli settlers against Palestinians and others in response to efforts by the Israeli government to dismantle illegal West Bank outposts.
Such attacks began in 2008 and were blamed on extremist Israeli settlers driven by a religious conviction that they should live on the land of their ancestors. The “price” was for settlements the government forced them to give up and revenge for Palestinian attacks on settlers.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under criticism from both Palestinian and Israeli lawmakers for failing to take on Jewish extremists who carry out the attacks.
Netanyahu expressed his condolences to the Dawabsheh family, according to a statement from his press office. The Prime Minister said “security forces are doing their utmost to apprehend the assailants and bring them to justice.”
The Palestinian Liberation Organization on Monday accused Israeli authorities of letting the suspects kill with impunity.
“We hold the Israeli government fully responsible,” said PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat. “Once again we call upon the international community to protect the Palestinian people under occupation, and to put an end to Israel’s culture of impunity. “
Netanyahu’s office called Erekat’s comments “out of place.”
“First, my Prime Minister absolutely condemned the attack. No double talk,” a senior official said. “Total, complete, unequivocal condemnation. Second, the Prime Minister designated it a terrorist attack, which allows law enforcement and the military to act with extra power to bring perpetrators to justice.”
On Monday, the United Nations lamented Dawabsheh’s death and criticized Israel’s investigation into the attack.
“I reiterate and strengthen my earlier call for justice,” said U.N. Middle East diplomat Nickolay Mladenov. “Acknowledging the wide condemnations issued at the time of the incident by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, I am nevertheless concerned by the lack of progress in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of this outrage.”
CNN’s Kareem Khadder reported from Jerusalem and Melissa Gray wrote from Atlanta. Yousuf Basil contributed to this report.