Home > Israel, Palestine, thoughts, UN, Uncategorized, West Bank > Visiting the Palestinian village of Duma

Visiting the Palestinian village of Duma


The room in which toddler Ali Dawabshe lost his life (photo credit: Murad Bakri)

Walking through the burned down remains of the house, talking to the relatives and knowing that this was intentional is truly a heavy experience. I have seen my fair share of blood and destruction from the immediate aftermath of Taliban rocket attacks in Afghanistan to the Hezbollah terrorist attack in Burgas that killed seven Israelis and one Bulgarian. But burning down a toddler while he is sleeping is pure evil…

Earlier this morning I met with President Abbas agreed with Abu Mazen that what is most important now is to make sure that the perpetrators are quickly apprehended and brought to justice. This is key. People need to see that terrorists are treated equally before the law.  On behalf of the Middle East Quartet Envoys, I also extended our condolences and condemnation of the terrorist attack.

President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have spoken clearly against this attack and called for justice. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that “terror is terror – and we need to fight it wherever it arises”. President Rivlin has said that “what we request [to fight terror] from our neighbours, from our opponents and our enemies of the last 100 years – that what we ask of them we must first ask of ourselves”.

The UN Secretary-General has condemned the act and pointed out that “continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life”. In a press statement the UN Security Council  has strongly condemned “all such acts of violence, which have affected both the Palestinian and Israeli people”.

The European Union has called this cold-blooded killing “a tragic reminder of the dramatic situation in the region that highlights the urgent need for a political solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”. The United States has also condemned the vicious attack.

The world has condemned this latest tragedy. It must now come together to stand not just against terrorism, but also against incitement.

For what its worth none of our words, statements or condemnations will bring little Ali back. But our words and actions can prevent the destruction of more lives. In this process the UN has a key role to play globally, in the Middle East, but also here on the ground where we must work both with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to revive the political process and the prospects of a two state solution based on justice, security and mutual recognition.

The visit to Duma today was a poignant reminder of that responsibility. In Bulgarian ‘duma’ (дума) means ‘word’. Words can kill, but words can also save lives.

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