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After A West Bank Home Goes Up In Flames, Tensions Flare In The Region


Today, in the West Bank in Jerusalem, demonstrations and clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters. This follows an arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler. Israeli extremists are suspected of setting the fires. Daniel Estrin reports from Tel Aviv.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Israelis demonstrated throughout the country this evening to protest two recent attacks - one in Jerusalem on Thursday at the city's annual Gay Pride Parade, where an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed six people, and yesterday's attack that killed a 1-and-a-half-year-old Palestinian baby named Ali Dawabsheh. An Israeli woman named Nomi Morag was at a rally in Tel Aviv. She held a sign that said stop senseless hatred.

NOMI MORAG: We are not supposed to stay at home safely while a terrorist from my own people burning a child of 18 months just because he's an Arab.

ESTRIN: Following the attack in the Palestinian territories, anger turned into confrontations between demonstrators and Israeli troops, and a Palestinian teen was shot dead in one of the clashes. Meanwhile, Palestinian officials made a rare visit to an Israeli hospital to visit Ali Dawabsheh's family. His parents and brother were seriously injured in the arson attack. Official Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian government holds Israel fully responsible. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also visited the family yesterday.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: We are shocked. We are outraged. We condemn this. There is zero tolerance for terrorism wherever it comes from, whatever side of the fence it comes from. We have to fight it and fight it together.

ESTRIN: Netanyahu called this an act of terrorism, a term Israeli officials usually reserve for Palestinian attacks, not the attacks by young West Bank-settler extremists who have been known in recent years to vandalize and torch Palestinian property. Those attacks, which have been common in recent years, are known as price tag attacks because the extremists who carry them out say they make Palestinians pay a price. In Hebrew, it's tag machir. This is Israeli political analyst Yaron Ezrahi.

YARON EZRAHI: Until now, tag machir was mostly burning houses, burning mosques, burning churches. It was not really burning a whole family, not killing a baby.

ESTRIN: In the West Bank, some 200 Palestinians marched from the village where the attack took place toward an Israeli intersection and clashed with Israeli forces. For NPR News, I'm Daniel Estrin in Tel Aviv. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.
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