The council leader of the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank has accused the Palestinian Authority of negligence in the months prior to an arson attack on a home in the village on Saturday night.
Unidentified assailants set fire to a house in Duma at 2 a.m., targeting the only witness of an arson attack that killed a Palestinian family last year. Ibrahim Dawabsha and his wife were hospitalized after they suffered from smoke inhalation due to the Molotov cocktails thrown at their home.
Although the identities of the arsonists was as of yet unknown, Palestinian officials have condemned the attack and accused Israel of cultivating a culture of impunity by rarely investigating and prosecuting acts of violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.
Speaking to Ma’an on Sunday hours after the attack, Abd al-Salam Dawabsha said Palestinian authorities hadn’t provided aid requested by Duma’s local council to organize local night watchmen to guard the village.
Duma made international headlines after extremist Israeli settlers set fire to a house in the village on July 30 last year. Ahmad Dawabsha, now 5 years old, was the only survivor of the attack, which killed both his parents, Saad and Riham Dawabsha, as well as his 18-month-old brother, Ali.
Nearly 90 Palestinian villages in the West Bank currently implement nightly patrols. Autonomous from the government and unarmed, the groups form an organized system of self-protection against settler attacks that Israeli authorities are complicit in and the PA has no jurisdiction to prevent.
The formation of now long-running night guard systems in villages and towns across the West Bank marks the inability of the PA to provide security to Palestinians, that analysts say the PA from its inception was never intended to give.
Abd al-Salam Dawabsha said Duma’s council had sent an official letter to the PLO Commission Against the Wall and Settlements asking for a monthly budget of 20,000 shekels ($5,186) to hire seven to 10 watchmen, as well as equipment.
However, “nothing has arrived so far and I don’t think we have been asking too much” for a village facing settler attacks on a nearly daily basis, the council leader said, adding that a suggestion by the Duma council to have some young men from the village work with PA security services was “turned down.”