Palestinian baby dies in arson; Israeli PM calls it terrorism

  • AP, Tel Aviv
  • Updated: Jul 31, 2015 16:17 IST

An 18-month-old Palestinian baby died and its parents were injured in a fire started by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Palestinian security officials said Friday.

Four settlers set a house on fire at the entrance of a Palestinian village and scrawled graffiti on a wall before fleeing to a neighbouring settlement, the sources said.

Extreme-right Israeli activists have committed acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and Arab Israelis for years, attacking Christian and Muslim places of worship and even Israeli soldiers.

The attacks are known "price tag" violence -- a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists aimed at Arab property.

West Bank settlements are major impediments to peace negotiations with the Palestinians, who see the land as part of a future independent state, and Western nations have called on Israel to halt such projects.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers that killed a Palestinian toddler in the West Bank "an act of terrorism in every respect."

"I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act," Netanyahu said in a statement. "This is an act of terrorism in every respect."

Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organisation held Israeli government "fully responsible" for the death of a toddler in an arson attack Friday by suspected Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, an official said.

"We hold the Israeli government fully responsible for the brutal assassination of the toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha," PLO official Saeb Erekat said in a statement. "This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism."

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