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Slain Palestinian toddler's parents, brother fighting for lives

Following an arson attack that killed an 18-month-old boy and critically wounding his family, thousands of people took to the streets in protest
Relatives of an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha mourn next to his body (AFP)

Thousands of people took to the streets in Tel Aviv and across Israel on Saturday night to protest an arson attack on a Palestinian family that killed an 18-month-old boy.

The demonstration was also attended by several Israeli leaders including former President Shimon Perez and opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

The parents and five-year-old brother of a baby killed in an arson attack by Israeli settlers remain in a critical condition, hospital sources told Middle East Eye on Saturday.

The firebombing of the Dawabsheh family's home in the occupied West Bank, which killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha, sparked an international outcry over Israel's failure to get to grips with violence by hardline Israeli settlers.

His father Saad was being treated for third-degree burns at the Soroka hospital in southern Israel, where a spokesperson described his condition as "critical".

Mother Riham and four-year-old brother Ahmed were being treated at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, where a spokesperson described their condition as life-threatening.

The family's small brick and cement home in the village of Duma was gutted by fire, and a Jewish Star of David spray-painted on a wall along with the words "revenge" and "long live the Messiah".

That was indicative of so-called "price tag" violence -- a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Israeli settlers.

At the Tel Aviv protest, Ali’s uncle Ghassan Dawabsheh addressed the rally: “These killers burned my family members who were sleeping peacefully in their house."

Palestinian protesters took to the streets across the West Bank, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, triggering clashes with the Israeli army.

North of Ramallah, troops shot Laith Khaldi, 17. He was pronounced dead early on Saturday. The army said he had thrown a fire bomb.

On Saturday morning, Palestinians and Israeli settlers clashed near Kusra in the northern West Bank, trading volleys of stones until the Israeli army declared the area a closed military zone.

In east Jerusalem, some 10 Palestinians were wounded in overnight clashes with Israeli police, Palestinian sources said.

On Saturday, two officers were lightly wounded dispersing a riot, police said. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the attack on the Dawabsha family as "terrorism in every respect" and vowed to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

But Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said he doubted Israel would provide "true justice" and ordered his foreign minister to file a complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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