EU: West Bank arson shows need for political solution

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A European Union official said the killing of a Palestinian baby near Nablus showed the need for a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The statement by the office of E.U. Foreign Affairs Head Federica Mogherini came following a deadly fire that Jewish extremists are believed to have started at the home of a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Duma near Nablus Thursday night.

“The cold-blooded killing of Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha, presumably by extremist settlers highlights the urgent need for a political solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the statement read. It also urged Israel to “|take resolute measures to protect the local population” and called for “full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered security forces to launch a manhunt for the killers, who left Hebrew-language graffiti about revenge at the family’s home. On Friday, he visited members of the Dawabsha family at the Israeli hospital where several of them, including Ali’s older brother, Ahmed Sa’ed, are recovering from injuries they sustained in the blaze.

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“There is zero tolerance for terrorism wherever it comes from, whatever side of the fence it comes from, we have to fight it and fight it together,” Netanyahu said after the visit.

Referring to Ahmed Sa’ed, Netanyahu said: “Sixty percent of his body is burned. We’re doing everything we can to save this young boy, give him a life,” adding: “When you stand next to the bed of this small child, and his infant brother had been so brutally murdered, we’re shocked, we’re outraged. We condemn this.”

The E.U. statement about settlers came two days after the European Union and several of its member states condemned Israel’s announcement on Wednesday that it intends to move ahead with a plan to build 500 new housing units in eastern Jerusalem and approve 300 further units in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

Jordan and the Palestinian Authority said in statements that Israel’s settlement policy is responsible for the killing of the infant. Turkey also condemned the planned construction on Friday, but its foreign ministry made no mention of the incident in Duma in its statement on settlements.

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