I am a little late in posting this as I have not had much internet access over the last 10 to 14 days. Many of you will be aware, two days before Christmas, Israeli television telecast video footage of an ultra-orthodox Zionist settler wedding, which showed Israeli settlers involved in the Hilltop Youth movement cheering the deaths of the Dawabsheh family. The video showed the Israeli settlers stabbing a photo of 18 month old Ali Dawabasha who was burnt to death when illegal Israeli settlers firebombed the child's home in July. His parents died a week later due to 90% burns to their bodies. It took Israel more than 4 months to arrest anyone and then they were released for lack of evidence.
This video supposedly "shocked" Israeli society, but it should not have. Israel is an apartheid colonial state, which actively engages in settler-colonialism, while encouraging and condoning acts of military and settler terrorism against an occupied and brutalised Palestinian population.
Israel carries out mass murder with impunity, the most recent example being the continuing illegal extrajudicial murder of Palestinians during the current uprising and the mass murder of more 2200 Palestinians, the majority civilians, including more than 500 children during its 51 day bombing of Gaza in mid 2014. Israel's soldiers are rarely indicted or charged with the gross human rights violations and acts of murder they carry out (see military impunity here, here, here, here ). Similarly, Israel's illegal settlers are also rarely charged with the violence, arson, destruction and murder they carry out (see here, here and here). Such impunity, actively encourages illegal Israeli settlers and turns a blind eye to their actions.
Israeli military and settlers know that they can carry out murder and human rights abuses with impunity - they can do so with the knowledge that they will most likely not be arrested or if they are, they will most likely only receive a slap on the wrist. They also know, that unlike Palestinians, there is almost no possibility that they will be the subject of torture or illegal extrajudicial killings by the Israeli state.
I have included below Haaretz's report on the wedding, as well as translation by my friend, Israeli activist, Ofer Neiman, as well extra video footage of the wedding and Electronic Intifada's article on the Wedding and settler impunity and violence.
In solidarity, Kim
Video Shows Jewish Radicals Celebrating Wedding by Stabbing Photo of Dawabsheh Baby
PM Netanyahu condemns the clip, which police seized, that shows Orthodox youths dancing at a wedding reception with guns, knives and a firebomb.
Chaim Levinson Dec 24, 2015 / Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the "shocking images" displayed in a video recently seized by police, which shows Orthodox youths at a Jerusalem wedding dancing with guns and knives, stabbing a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, the toddler who was killed in the Duma firebomb attack that killed three members of the Dawabsheh family this past summer.
This video filmed at an Orthodox wedding three weeks ago, Netanyahu said, exposes "the real face of a group that poses danger to Israeli society and security." He then went on to bolster the Shin Bet, by saying that the images publicized in the video "attest to the importance of the Shin Bet to our security," Netanyahu said.
The Shin Bet has come under attack by right wing groups in recent weeks, after questions were raised about their interrogation tactics in questioning the suspected Duma arsons who were arrested in November. Some accuse the Shin Bet of torturing the suspects, according to the suspects' lawyers.
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Living also denounced the video. “The Judaism of those who dance on the blood of babies is not my Judaism,” she said. “This is a group that wants to destroy Jewish Israel, to destroy this country from within, to turn it into a state of hatred and to destroy the regime from within.”
The clip, which aired on Channel 10 news Wednesday night, shows that amid classical wedding dancing, guests with ear locks and kippas, skullcaps, danced with guns and knives. One masked youth held up a firebomb. Another is seen stabbing a photo of the Dawabsheh toddler, Ali.
The video was shown on Channel 10 news Wednesday night.
According to the Channel 10 report, the wedding was of a couple “very well known in the radical right.” The couple’s friends who were dancing were described as being friends of the suspects in the Dawabsheh murders.
In the video one can see dozens of teens and young men singing a song in praise of revenge, while holding up guns and knives. According to the report, the IDF-issue rifles and licensed pistols were passed around at the reception from hand to hand, including to children.
Information about the wedding made its way to police, who intend to question those who were careless with their weapons and to revoke their gun licenses. The video was given to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who sent it on to local council heads of Jewish communities in the West Bank and met with several of them.
The council heads, stunned by the show of support for Jewish violence, issued a statement supporting the Shin Bet in its efforts to solve the arson case. The Channel 10 broadcast included an appearance by Avi Ro’eh, chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria, making a statement in support of the police and security agencies.
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog wrote on Twitter, “You miserable people, you’ve forgotten what it is to be Jews. You disgrace your skullcap, your prayer shawl and the name of God. Whoever dances at a wedding and celebrates the murder of a sleeping baby is not Jewish and not Israeli. He should be put behind bars as quickly as possible.”
Chief Rabbi David Lau also responded to the broadcast, saying, “Acts like these are not the way of Judaism. This is a rejection and repudiation of the values of the Jewish people, of the Torah of Israel and the uniqueness of the Jewish people. Parents and educators must take it upon themselves, along with law enforcement, to do everything possible to prevent this appalling identification with such frightful acts of terrorism and murder.”
Translation of the Hebrew video by Israeli activist and translator, Ofer Neiman:
Zionist hilltop wedding in Jerusalem: participants wield knives, stab a photo of baby Ali Dawabsheh (see video above)
The weapons are passed from one person to another, children too hold the guns.
0:03 The atmosphere is steaming.
0:05 The vengeance and knives dance becomes a crazy display.
0:10 Note the photo of baby Ali Dawabsheh. burned to death is held high by the celebrating participants
0:16 As one of them stabs the photo of the baby with a knife
Reporter: And here is the moment in which the baby's photo is stabbed repeatedly to the joy of the celebrants
0:30 Participants chanting: "Avenge but one of my two eyes on Palestine."
High Court: No basis to indict Torat Hamelech authors for incitement Wed, 09 Dec 2015
VIDEO: KNIFE DANCE OF THE HILLTOP YOUTH
Further footage from the same wedding with english subs
Broadcast on Israeli television Wednesday evening, it shows one masked youth holding up a Molotov cocktail while another stabs a photo of Ali Dawabsha, the Palestinian baby killed in a firebomb attack on his family home in the occupied West Bank village of Duma last summer.
“In the video one can see dozens of teens and young men singing a song in praise of revenge, while holding up guns and knives,” Israel’s Haaretz, which published this version of the video, reported.
The wedding was of a couple “very well known in the radical right,” Haaretz quotes Israel’s Channel 10 as saying.
The dancing wedding guests were described as “friends of the suspects in the Dawabsha murders.”
The report said “licensed pistols were passed around at the reception from hand to hand, including to children.”
TortureThe disturbing video emerged just as Israel’s Shin Bet secret police has said it is close to issuing indictments for the arson attack that killed three members of the Dawabsha family.
On 31 July, a firebomb was thrown into the Dawabsha family home, killing 18-month-old baby Ali and fatally injuring his parents Riham and Saad. Ali’s 4-year-old brother Ahmad, who suffered severe burns, is the only survivor.
Shin Bet announced on Sunday it had made progress in the investigation, but kept all details secret under a gag order.
However Itamar Ben Gvir, a key suspect’s lawyer, has publicly claimed his client was tortured to confess to the crime.
“They broke him. I believe very much that there are doubts that any confessions he made are usable in court. They beat him into a shadow of a person,” Ben Gvir said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Ben Gvir, a right-wing activist, said his client was sleep deprived, beaten and held in various stress positions until he finally confessed.
The lawyer also suggested that interrogators may have sexually assaulted his client, according to Israel’s Arutz Sheva news website.
While rarely used against Jews, the torture techniques described by Ben Gvir are consistent with those routinely inflicted by Israel on Palestinians, including children.
Shin Bet has come under fire for using them against Israeli Jewish citizens.
On 19 December, Israeli forces and intelligence officers brought a suspect to Duma and had him “reenact” the crime, Ma’an News Agency reported.
While defense minister Moshe Yaalon admitted in September that the army knew who had perpetrated the attack, no arrests were made until four months after the fatal crime.
Following mounting pressure, Shin Bet arrested suspects at the end of November and beginning of December.
With the permission of Israel’s high court, Shin Bet held the suspects – for the maximum 21 days before granting them access to lawyers.
While barely any details were released, the deputy attorney general publicly admitted that Shin Bet was using “exceptional measures” during interrogations.
The Electronic Intifada has identified two suspects, whose names Israeli media are still withholding due to the gag order, as Hanoch Ganiram, 19, and Elisha Odess, who is a minor.
Earlier this month, the Israeli government told the high court that indictments were not on the horizon.
But it now seems Shin Bet has managed to extract a confession.
After suspects began meeting with their lawyers last week, details of their interrogations and torture have emerged.
Attorney Adi Keidar, representing a 17-year-old suspect, claims his client attempted to kill himself by slitting his wrists.
The teenager testified in an Israeli court on the torture he was enduring, yet the judge ordered he remain in custody.
Last weekend, hundreds of supporters violently clashed with police in Jerusalem during a demonstration against the suspects’ prolonged interrogation.
Israeli civil rights groups have also questioned the legality of Shin Bet’s reported methods.
Last week, Shin Bet said it was investigating a “Jewish terror organization” that had “contributed to instability in the region.”
“This organization adheres to an extreme, anti-Zionist ideology, that has set itself the goal of violently overthrowing the Israeli government,” Shin Bet told Israeli media.
What such comments do not address is the fact that all of Israel’s settlers are in the West Bank as a result of decades of Israeli government policy and only remain there because of the protection and support they receive from the Israeli army.
Home attackedThere has been a sharp increase in violence by Israeli settlers in recent years, almost none of which is investigated and punished, according to the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.
Early Tuesday, suspected Israeli settlers attacked a home in the village of Beitillu near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank in an apparent revenge attack for the arrests of the suspects in the Dawabsha murders.
Hussein al-Najjar, 30, told Ma’an News Agency that settlers arrived at his home around 1:30am and vandalized the exterior walls of the house before smashing a window and throwing three tear gas bombs inside.
Al-Najjar said that he and his wife and their 9-month-old son Karam suffered from severe tear gas inhalation.
“The family survived death thanks to the intervention of neighbors who broke open the main door and evacuated the family, who were found unconscious,” al-Najjar added.
Photos show the phrases “revenge” and “hello from the detainees of Zion” spraypainted in Hebrew on the side of the home.
Ali Abunimah contributed research.