The burnt house, Silwad

The burnt house, Silwad

Price Tag settlers take their vengeance on uninvolved Palestinians, and torch a house – which, fortunately, was empty

About two months ago, a band of pitiful pogromchiks were captured in Qusra by the residents, as they were on their way to a carry out a Price Tag attack. They were soundly beaten, and then turned over to the IDF, which did not hide its satisfaction at their fate. On second thought, perhaps the IDF should have thought twice about this satisfaction: if Palestinian self-defense can handle this band of ne’er-do-wells, all the legends about it being a more secret and compartmentalized organization that the Cheka in its height, that its members can keep silence under interrogation better than a fish who took monastic vows, and therefore the incompetence of the authorities is understandable – all of that fades away.

We warned at the time that reprisals for this humiliation to Jewish pride are to be expected, and at the end of February, one of them took place. That night, unknown persons reached the eastern house in the village of Silwad – which was not involved in the Qusra incident, but unfortunately for it, resides near the illegal outposts of Amona and Netzah Binyamin – and set the house aflame, leaving behind slogans which became the trademark of “Price Tag” pogroms. This time the slogans read “Qusra” and “Arabs out 904.”

The house is the residence, for some 45 years, of a Palestinian widow, Ravida Abd AlGhani Khamed. She lives alone and the house has neither fence nor gate; and as it is isolated, it is an easy target. Fortunately, on this specific night, Khamed was not at her house. Otherwise it’s hard to believe she would have survived.

One has to be a particularly despicable person to set a house on fire at night, a rare kind of cowardly murderousness. This is of course not the first case of its kind, as settlers have set houses on fire with their residents inside before, and still such an act ought to chill every decent person. Yet, given the lower-than-grass success rate of the SJPD, even though it now boasts of a “nationalistic crime department” which has already become a joke, one assumes this case, too, will be closed. Me, I would put my money on the “perpetrator unknown” grounds for closure.

Every self-respecting police force would just about drop everything else and go and find the despicable cowards who torched a house at night. Yet, we did not get the impression that there is undue urgency among the investigators. Then again, it is the SJPD. If its job is law enforcement, it’s pretty terrible at it.

So, for now, the arsonists are free, And Ravida Khamed will now have to decide whether she returns to the house whose tranquility was transformed into horror, where sleeping now requires courage, or to give up her life as she lived it for 45 years and move elsewhere. If she does move, then, to quote George W. Bush, the terrorists have won. No decent person, however, can blame her – only the terrorists and their accomplices by negligence in the police can be blamed.