Grandfather of Toddler Killed in Arson Attack: I Helped Build Hospital Treating My Family

In the wake of the arson attack that killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabshe, his grandfather, Hussein Dawabshe, has written a personal account of the events for the Israeli daily paper Yedioth Ahronoth.

The attack in Duma was apparently perpetrated by Jewish settlers, who left Hebrew graffiti reading “revenge” on the building. Israeli officials called the event an act of terrorism. A search for the suspects is underway.

Dawabshe said that his wife woke him up in their home in Duma, outside of Nablus in the Palestinian West Bank, when she saw that their daughter’s house was aflame. By the time he reached the house, his relatives had been taken to the hospital, except young Ali who died in the fire.

“There are no words in Arabic, in Hebrew or in any other language to describe this horrific scene. These murderers are heartless killers. How could you attack a family that never harmed anyone? How could you kill a year-and-a-half old baby?”

He also revealed that he helped build the hospital where his daughter, son-in-law, and other grandson are now being treated for severe burns.

“I have Jewish friends. I worked here and I helped build the buildings at Sheba Hospital where my family members are now hospitalized. For God’s sake, enough. How much longer?”

“Please, pray together with us for their recovery — Jews and Arabs — so my grandson is the last victim of this terror war,” he wrote.

Dawabshe isn’t the only family member to speak directly to the Israeli public. Ali’s uncle, Nasser Dawabshe, spoke at a Peace Now rally on Saturday in Tel Aviv to call for an end to “the suffering of our people.”


Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff is the Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

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