Scene of Duma arson (file)
Scene of Duma arson (file)Flash 90

Shmuel Meidad, director of the Honenu legal aid organization, on Sunday condemned the media gag order placed by police on an arson in the Arab town of Duma in Samaria, which targeted relatives of the Dawabshe family that was murdered in an arson attack last July.

The arson early Sunday morning targeted Ibrahim Dawabshe, a witness in the trial of Amiram Ben-Uliel and a 17-year-old alleged accomplice, who are suspected of being behind the arson that killed the Dawabshe couple and their infant son. Controversy has surrounded the case, as the suspects argue the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) extracted false confessions from them through brutal torture - the ISA has already admitted at least one false confession was made.

Compounding the intrigue is the fact that Ibrahim Dawabshe is the sole witness who claimed to have actually seen two alleged attackers during the arson. He told police he saw two masked men standing over the bodies of the Dawabshe parents. That testimony is itself somewhat at odds with Israeli investigators' version of events, according to which Ben-Uliel acted alone after his sole accomplice failed to turn up at the meeting point.

"The rash of fires in the Duma village in recent months raises many question marks," said Meidad in response to the latest arson.

As noted by Meidad, Sunday morning's arson is in fact not the first to target family members of the victims; just a month after the lethal arson, the house of the victim's brother was set on fire but immediately ruled to be an Arab arson and not investigated further. That second arson further raised suspicions among some that a reported longstanding local feud was responsible for the murder, particularly in light of large question marks in the case.

"It's very strange that the fires remain around the same geographic area and around the same family, and according to the publications they are done through the same method of action," noted the Honenu director.

"These events were not investigated and not checked thoroughly and independently, and we have already seen this happen. In the case of Khaled al-Mughrabi, the inciting sheikh from the Temple Mount, an investigation was not launched against him and he wasn't arrested until the Honenu organization submitted a complaint."

Noting on radical leftist activists recently exposed in investigative reports, he added, "also in the case of members of the Ta'ayush organization, Ezra Nawi, and Breaking the Silence, the system chose to close its eyes, and it appears the considerations of the investigation are not always relevant."

"One out of many fires in Duma was investigated, but only against Jews and employing cruel torture that doesn't lead to  an investigation of the truth but rather results that don't match with the bevy of testimony and evidence at the scene," he added.

Meidad emphasized that "more is hidden than is revealed in the Duma case, and we hope that the truth about the fires and the conduct of the investigative authorities will be exposed to the eyes of the public."