Family, Friends ‘Shocked’ Over Duma Accusations

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Palestinian man looks at the damage in the Dawabshe family's home in the West Bank village of Duma, on August 06, 2015, after it was set on fire. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
A Palestinian man looks at the damage in the Dawabshe family’s home in the Palestinian village of Duma, on August 6, 2015, after it was set on fire. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Family members, relatives, and friends of the accused in the Duma arson case expressed shock Sunday over the accusations, saying that they did not believe he could have set fire to the home of the Dawabshe family, resulting in the deaths of three people, including an infant. Parents of the suspect said that they were “shocked over the accusations,” and that they “believe in his innocence.”

Over a month ago, Shin Bet security investigators rounded up half a dozen suspects in the now-infamous case, but announced Sunday that only one individual – a 21-year-old youth from Yerushalayim – was being charged with murder in the case in which the home of the Dawabshe family in the Arab village of Duma went up in flames last summer after being firebombed by masked attackers, whom the Shin Bet believes to be Jews. An 18-month-old baby was burned to death, while his parents succumbed to their injuries later.

Assisting the main suspect was a minor, who is being charged as an accomplice. According to the indictment, the two intended to foment riots among Arabs in response to the heinous act, on the theory that security forces would respond with a heavy hand, and thus preclude further discussion of giving up settlements in Yehudah and Shomron to Arabs.

According to the indictment, the suspect admitted that he had intentionally carried out the arson attack. The two suspects reportedly incriminated each other, sources in the prosecutor’s office said.

At a press conference, the parents of the main suspect said that they looked forward to their son’s trial. “We believe that his innocence will be proven in court, and we also intend to fully reveal the extensive torture our son was subjected to.” According to the suspect’s attorneys, he was beaten, denied sleep, and not even allowed the opportunity to daven. The suspect’s parents added that “we are opposed to violence, and we raised our children with that same philosophy.”

According to the suspect’s wife, he was with her at home at the time the arson took place. “This is political persecution,” she said. “Clearly they beat that confession out of him. The truth will come out in court.”