Israel Releases Settler Who Torched Palestinian Family
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Israeli settler who had been arrested after a deadly arson attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family in the occupied West Bank last summer was released from administrative detention.
Two Israeli suspects were indicted on charges of murder in the incident in January, five months after suspects belonging to an Israeli terror organization set the home of a Palestinian family ablaze, killing an 18-month-old baby immediately.
The infant’s parents, Riham and Saad Dawabsha, later died from severe burns, leaving 4-year-old Ahmad the only surviving member of the family.
Meir Ettinger, 23, was detained in August 2015 for leading those attacks after outrage in the occupied territories and calls for a crackdown on Israeli extremism in the wake of the arson attack.
Ettinger’s release on Wednesday has been seen by many as emblematic of what activists and rights groups have called a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians, Ma 'an News Agency reported.
The Israeli authorities’ decision not to conduct a transparent investigation into Ettinger’s suspected role in the case has also been seen as emblematic of the general lack of law enforcement in the occupied West Bank.
Over 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 221 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2015.