Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Israel Says New Duma Fire Not Work of Extremist Jews; Palestinians, UN Disagree

JERUSALEM – Arson was not the cause of a fire that damaged the Duma home of a key witness in a deadly attack last year in the same West Bank Palestinian village, police believe.

Ibrahim Dawabsheh, the owner of the house, and his wife escaped from the burning home early Sunday morning and were treated in a West Bank hospital for smoke inhalation, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

He is the key witness to the July 2015 attack that killed his relatives Reham and Saad Dawabsheh, and their 18-month-old son, Ali Saad, and seriously injured Ali’s older brother. Ibrahim Dawabsheh is testifying in the murder trial of the suspected bomber, Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, and his 17-year-old alleged accomplice.

The Israel Police and the Shin Bet security service, who are investigating the early Sunday morning fire, said in a statement issued that night that investigators have not found any indication the attack was nationalistically motivated or any evidence it was an arson attack. Some details of the investigation remain under a gag order.

“The findings so far at the scene are not consistent with the characteristics of a deliberate arson attack by Jews,” the joint statement said.

Palestinian officials have said they believe the attack on the home, which is located about 10 yards from the house that was burned down last year, was arson.

A bedroom window in the house was broken, with shattered glass inside, the French news agency AFP reported, citing local residents.

“The window was broken from the outside and flammable materials were found in the rubble,” Col. Malek Ali, fire chief for the nearby city of Nablus, told AFP.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official, told the Palestinian Maan news agency that it is clear Jewish settlers attacked the home.

“The way they attacked, the type of firebombs and the timing of the attack, all indicate that it was Israeli settlers,” he said.

Robert Piper, the United Nations coordinator for humanitarian assistance and development aid, in a statement condemned what he called the “arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists.”

“This violent act could easily have resulted in a more tragic outcome, as did the heinous terrorist attack last July on the home of Mr. Dawabsheh’s relatives in the same village,” he said.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.