Israel will not pay compensation to the family of Ahmad Dawabsha, the Palestinian toddler whose family were killed in an arson attack by Israeli settlers in 2015, Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has told a Knesset member in an official letter.
Yousef Jabareen, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, had demanded Lieberman to recognise the Dawabsha family as victims of a terrorist act and to pay financial compensation after settlers raided and torched the family home in Duma village.
"Compensation should be a right, not a gift," he said, stressing that "the state needs to give him full compensation due to the severity of the incident and the loss he has suffered."
Jabareen said that the family would now "turn to the courts" to seek redress and compensation for the young boy.
He accused Lieberman of implementing a racist policy towards the Palestinians. "The defense minister's position is based on racial discrimination," the Knesset member said in a statement, "If we were talking about Jewish settlers hurt by Palestinians, the victims would automatically receive compensation," he added.
Responding to Jabareen's accusations, the Israeli defence minister said that the six-year-old boy, who was badly injured in the attack, does not qualify as a "terror victim" and does not hold Israeli citizenship and therefore not entitled to compensation, the Israeli minister said.
The Israeli law stipulates that Israel must compensate Israelis affected by acts of terrorism, however, the law does not apply to Palestinians "who are not citizens or residents of Israel," according to Lieberman's letter.
In 2016, the Israeli attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, rejected a request by Jabareen to recognise the Dawabsha family as "terror victims."
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In January 2016, a 21-year-old Israeli settler—Amiram Ben-Uliel—and an unnamed 16-year-old minor were indicted for carrying out the Duma arson attack, during which two homes in Duma, south of Nablus, were raided. Ali Dawabsha, 18 months old, father Saad Dawabsha, his wife Riham, were burnt to death in the attack. Their toddler son, Ahmad, who was four at the time, was the only surviving member of the family after receiving medical treatment for severe burns.
The attack caused outrage in the occupied Palestinian territories and around the world.