A Palestinian baby has burned to death after Israeli settlers set fire to homes in the occupied West Bank.
Two homes were set alight in an arson attack by Israeli settlers in the Palestinian village of Duma, south of Nablus, in the early hours of Friday. A large fire broke out after settlers threw firebombs and Molotov cocktails into the Palestinian houses.
Local residents and witnesses identified the infant killed in the attack as 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha.
Palestinian medical sources said the child’s parents, as well as his four-year-old brother, were all injured and rushed to a hospital in Nablus.
The two homes were set ablaze by settlers who came from the nearby settlement of Ma’akeg Efraim.
According to local residents' accounts, the parents woke up and tried to remove their children from the house, but were unable to save their youngest son. The other torched house was empty at the time.
Media reports indicate that Hebrew graffiti was found near the arson scene, reading "revenge" and "long live the Messiah." The settlers also wrote 'price tag' and drew a Star of David on the walls of the homes.
'Israeli regime liable for the brutality'
In a statement issued hours after the incident, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned the “brutal assassination” of the Palestinian infant, stressing that the regime in Tel Aviv bears “full responsibility” for the arson attack.
“This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given” by the Israeli regime to the extremist settlers who have perpetrated acts of terrorism, said PLO official Saeb Erekat in the statement.
Israeli settlers have in recent years carried out various attacks including arson and graffiti on Palestinian property in the West Bank and al-Quds (Jerusalem) under the “price tag” slogan.
Price tag attacks are acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and their properties as well as Islamic holy sites.
Israeli vandals also frequently launch price tag attacks against Palestinian fields in the occupied West Bank, uprooting dozens of olive trees.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.