UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov
UN Middle East envoy Nickolay MladenovReuters

The UN’s envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, on Saturday warned against allowing “extremists” to “escalate the situation”, following the death of Sa'ad Dawabshe, the father of the infant who was killed in an arson attack on the Palestinian village of Duma.

Dawabshe died at the Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva after suffering burns on 80 percent of his body and being sedated and on a respirator for several days.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Sa’ad Dawabshe, father of toddler Ali Dawabshe who was killed in an arson attack on their home in Duma village on 31 July. Despite the excellent care of Israeli and Palestinian medical professionals, early Saturday morning he succumbed to his wounds,” Mladenov said in a statement. 

“On behalf of the United Nations family, I extend our heartfelt condolences to his relatives, friends and the community. Our thoughts and prayers go out for the recovery of his four year-old son, Ahmed, and his wife, Riham, who is also fighting for her life,” he continued.

“I reiterate the Secretary-General’s call for the perpetrators of this heinous terrorist act, which was universally condemned, to be brought swiftly to justice. Political, community and religious leaders on all sides should work together and not allow extremists to escalate the situation and take control of the political agenda,” said Mladenov.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier released a statement on the death of Dawabshe.

"I express deep sorrow over the death of Saad Dawabshe," Netanyahu stated. "When I visited family members in hospital last week, I promised that we would use all the tools at our disposal to apprehend the murderers and deal with them to the fullest extent of the law and this is what we are doing."

"At last week's Security Cabinet meeting we made decisions to assist the fight against terrorism, including in regard to administrative detentions and advancing anti-terrorism legislation," he added. "We will not countenance terrorism of any kind."

In response to news of Sa'ad's death, Hamas spokesman Husam Badran called for open warfare against Israel.

"Nothing will stop these murderous settler attacks and... we cannot wait until they come into our villages and our homes,"  he said in a statement. "There is no alternative for our people in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria - ed.] but to launch a comprehensive war against the Occupation."

Fatah, meanwhile, announced it had formed a new militia to protect villages against "settlers" after the arson attack, which has been attributed to "Jewish terrorists" though no arrests have yet been made conclusively proving Jewish or Israeli involvement.