At roughly 4 AM on Friday 31 July 2015, Israeli settlers burned to death eighteen-month old Palestinian baby boy Ali Saad Dawabsheh by setting fire to his family`s home while they slept. The family rushed out of their burning home and saved their 4-year old son who was suffocating from smoke inhalation. This is not an outlier in the West Bank or throughout Israel, Palestinians are dehumanized as a matter of instituionalized racism.This attack is among the 11,000 settler attacks against Palestinian bodies and lands that have gone unpunished in the last decade. Impunity for these practices ensures their exponential rise- including 144 perecent increase in violence from 2009-2011. This attack is in "revenge" for the demolition of two "illegal" buildings in the illegal settlement of Beit Il - because colonial subjects are not human and thus expendable. Ali Saad Dawabsheh was burned alive in his home while he slept. It was not the first attempt to kill sleeping Palestinian families. Israeli settlers have burnt down fifteen homes in the past seven years. This is also not indicative of extremist violence but an extension of Israel`s institutionalized disregard for Palestinians. The state and its vigilantes have killed a Palestinian child every three days for the past thirteen years. In this interview with Al Jazeera America, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat emphasizes the dehumanizaiton of Palestinians as a matter of Israeli national policy. In response to a question that Israel could easily stem this settler violence because there are are only a few hundred instances a year, Noura responded:
Well, first of all I think we`re underestimating how many people actually do it. There`s been approximately 11,000 attacks on Palestinians bodies and lands in the past decade and these numbers have grown as you`ve discussed by 150 percent. They can be easily held to account but the problem is not the settlers themselves, the problem is what the Israeli system sets out to do in the process of removing Palestinians to replace them with Israeli settlers. So Baby Ali was the fourth Palestinian killed this week and another two were killed today by the Israeli Army. Within Israel this happens as well. It’s not just about settlers. The Israeli system dehumanizes Palestinians and it’s evidenced in chants like “death to Arabs.” It’s also evidenced in the legal system which dehumanizes them within courtrooms and in their everyday lives....we`re letting Israel off the hook. This isn`t about Israeli extremists. This is about Israeli society that dehumanizes Palestinians. Bibi Netanyahu decried this as a terrorist attack but during his entire tenure, he has not overseen the prosecution of a single Israeli settler. He oversaw the killing of 551 Palestinian chidlren in the Gaza Strip and has not overseen the prosecution of a single Israeli soldier. We have attacks day in and day out in a society that sees it as acceptable in ways that they offer impunity to it because the charge of a single soldier will indict an entire society and the charge of a single settler will undermine the entire movement.