Israel Indicts Two Suspects in Deadly West Bank Arson Attack

  • Murder charges filed against one Jerusalem man, one minor
  • Case highlights growing challenge of Jewish extremist violence

An Israeli court indicted two Jewish citizens in connection with the West Bank arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents.

The indictments handed down on Sunday charged a 21-year old Jerusalem resident with the murders and a minor with being an accessory to the July 31 firebombing in the village of Duma while the family slept. Additional charges were filed against two other people in other violence directed against Arabs, and the vandalism of mosques and churches.

The incident has highlighted the growing threat of Jewish extremist violence against Arabs, and spurred debate in Israel over the best way to combat it. During the investigation, police put several suspects under administrative detention, a controversial tactic of arrest without trial more typically used against Palestinian terrorism suspects.

Palestinians cited the attack as one of the causes of a wave of violence against Israelis that began in October. Some, including Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi, have accused Israel of taking too long to prosecute suspects in the crime and treating Jewish terrorism suspects more gently than Palestinian terrorism suspects.

“We are opposed to murder and violence, and against the breaking of laws, wherever or however they take place,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, according to a release from his office.

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