A video purportedly showing Jewish extremists at a wedding party cheering while stabbing the photo of a Palestinian toddler has triggered a firestorm of condemnation from Israeli politicians.
The 26-second video, broadcast Wednesday evening by Channel 10, shows men in white skullcaps and shirts dancing while holding knives and guns. One of the dancers stabs the photo of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha while others call for more murders.
Some revelers danced with rifles belonging to the Israeli military and in one case held a mock firebomb in the air.
Ali was killed along with his father, Sa’ad, 32, and Sa’ad’s wife, Rehem, 27, when their home was firebombed in the West Bank village of Duma in July. The couple’s 4-year-old son survived.
No one has been charged in the deaths, although several suspects have been taken into custody. Defense officials said they were convinced the killings were carried out by Jewish terrorists, The Jerusalem Post reported. Lawyers have alleged torture of suspects by the domestic security agency, Shin Bet.
Israeli media reported that the groom at the wedding has been questioned about acts of “Jewish terrorism,” and others at the wedding were friends or relatives of suspects arrested in connection with the attack, the Agence France-Presse news agency reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday condemned the video as “shocking.” The prime minister said the pictures “show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger to Israeli society and to the security of Israel.”
Shahar Eshbal, father of the groom, told Channel 2 he did not see the dance in question and would have ejected anyone involved from the wedding if he had.
“I saw from a distance that they were holding up photos,” Eshbal told Channel 2. “I said maybe they were photos of the detainees (in the Duma case) or Jewish victims of terrorism.” He said he had no idea the picture was of the slain child.
“If I would have known, I would have thrown them out,” he said of the extremists who held the poster.
Other politicians have condemned the video. Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, said, “These people are a danger to the state of Israel. We must fight them the way we fight Hamas and Hezbollah.”
“That kind of twisted dancing with pictures of a baby who was murdered in his sleep reflects a dangerous ideology that has lost all traces of humanity,” said Bezalel Smotrich, an MP with the Bayit Yehudi party, according to the Post..
Since late September, Jerusalem and the West Bank have been plagued by almost daily stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks. Twenty Israelis and an American student have died, and at least 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 82 identified by Israel as assailants, according to the Associated Press.
Wednesday, two Palestinian attackers were shot dead after they stabbed and killed an Israeli man.
Four Palestinians were killed in separate incidents Thursday, among them three who Israel said attacked soldiers in the West Bank, the AP said.
Israel says the violence is fanned by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement. The Palestinians say it is rooted in frustrations stemming from nearly five decades of Israeli occupation.
Though attacks have abated in recent weeks, the random violence has left both Jewish and Arab residents of Jerusalem on edge, distrustful of one another and hesitant to wander out in the streets. That tense situation has hurt business and tourism.
The rise in anti-Arab sentiment includes Jewish boycotts of Arab businesses and closer scrutiny by schools of Arab custodial workers.
Jerusalem authorities were installing steel pillars around 300 bus stops in the city after a 21-year-old Palestinian man rammed his car last week into a bus stop, injuring 14 people.
Palestinians such as Ahmad Amari from East Jerusalem say they are afraid of their Jewish neighbors.
A poll published last week by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Researchfound 67% of Palestinians support stabbing attacks on Israelis. A growing majority said they no longer believe Palestinian independence through diplomacy is an achievable goal but armed resistance could “serve Palestinian national interests in ways that negotiations could not,” the survey found.