Police on Tuesday asked for any leads on last Friday's lethal arson in the Arab village of Duma in Samaria, in which an infant was killed and four family members wounded – in an announcement that was met with backlash by Israelis online.
In a post on its official Facebook page, the Israel Police wrote that it "asks for the help of the public in the investigation of the arson and murder in Duma Village."
"Anyone who has in their possession information or any detail that could help in deciphering the murder is asked to contact the phone number: 050-8386626," wrote the police.
The post was met by scorn from Israelis, who pointed out that despite needing help "deciphering" the case, police last Friday on the same day as the arson hurriedly claimed Jewish extremists likely conducted the crime based on the presence of Hebrew graffiti at the site.
Two critical comments to the post received roughly half as many likes as the original post, indicating a wide-spread dissatisfaction with police handling of the case.
In one post, an older woman wrote, "if only you asked like this and put up a post on Facebook when they murdered my husband and the father of my six children. He was murdered in front of me almost five years ago and there still isn't even a thread to go on."
The post included a picture of her murdered husband.
The other post was by a young woman, who wrote, "I don't know if I should laugh or cry…everyone rushed to condemn the cruel and lowly act that Jews allegedly did, but in fact there is no evidence that they were Jews…the state is making a joke of itself."
As noted by the user, Israeli politicians from all ends of the spectrum rushed to condemn the arson attack as "Jewish terror." That condemnation has been followed by a wave of Arab terrorism, including attempts to burn down Joseph's Tomb, an apparent arson southeast of Jerusalem Sunday that released asbestos-laden ash on wide swathes of the city, a near-lethal firebomb attack in Jerusalem's Beit Hanina, and numerous other attacks of varying degrees.
Other critics of the police post on Facebook noted there are several large question marks concerning the claims that Jewish extremists were behind the attack.
For one thing, the Hebrew graffiti which is the only scrap of evidence that those claims have been officially based on consists of the phrase "the Messiah King will live," a phrase more commonly associated with Chabad than with "hilltop youth" Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. Likewise the word "revenge" that was also found was written in a script some say appears to indicate an Arab writer.
Arab media reported that the IDF confiscated security cameras from Duma on Monday night. If accurate, the report would raise questions as to why the Arab village is apparently not cooperating with the investigation into the lethal arson.
Adding to the question marks surrounding the case are reports of an ongoing 18-year feud between two clans in Duma. Questions have likewise been raised regarding the claims of locals regarding the arson.
The affected house was located in the center of the sprawling village, and before burning it the assailants burned down an empty home next door. The arsonists had to place the firebombs through the house's lattice, and according to locals they entered the home and stood over the parents to prevent them from leaving until the entire house was on fire. They also drew graffiti at two places, one with an intricate crown on it, and then made it out of the village on foot.