President Reuven Rivlin reached out to the Israeli Arab and Palestinian populations through the Arabic media Friday, to express his "disgust and deep shock" at the arson attack in the Palestinian Authority (PA) village of Duma. The attack killed a baby and wounded four others; while the identity of the attackers remains unknown, the attack has been attributed to "Jewish settlers."
“We awoke this morning to a day of sorrow," he said. "The murder of Ali Dawabsha, a baby asleep in her crib, and the serious injuries of the members of her family, her brothers, her father, and her mother who is fighting for her life, cuts at the heart of all of us."
"I feel a sense of shame, and moreover a sense of pain," he said. "Pain over the murder of a small baby. Pain that from my people, there are those who have chosen the path of terrorism, and have lost their humanity."
"Their path is not my path. Their path is not our path," he continued, on the assumption that the attackers were Jews. "Their path is not the path of the State of Israel, or of the Jewish People."
"To my great sorrow, until now it seems we have been lax in our treatment of the phenomena of Jewish terrorism," he added. "Perhaps we did not internalize that we are faced with a determined and dangerous, ideological group, which aims to destroy the fragile bridges which we work so tirelessly to build."
"I believe that the more we understand this significant danger to the State of Israel, the more we will be aware to confront it, and uproot it."
Rivlin, echoing the comments of Opposition leader and Zionist Union leader MK Yitzhak Herzog, called for "soul-searching" in the attack's wake.
“In the face of a wave of terror against the innocent, the loss of life, and the loss of law and order, the State of Israel and Israeli society must carry some soul searching," he insisted. "Introspection that will find expression not just in words but in action."
"Israel’s leadership, across the political spectrum, must express clearly not only their condemnation of this terrorism, but their genuine commitment to confront violence and racism, recognizing our commitment to an adherence to the values of the law and of democracy, respect for the courts, and respect for our fellow man as created in God’s image."
“At these painful moments, I turn to the Arab citizens of Israel, and the Palestinian people, to all law abiding citizens, and ask that you do not succumb to the shock and anger," Rivlin concluded. "This is a time to join together. The law enforcement and the legal system will find the murderers, and bring them to justice."
"We must allow the law enforcement services to carry out the task bestowed upon them, and be aware not to be drawn into needless acts of violence. Taking the law into one’s own hands, and submitting to acts of violence is to award a prize to the terrorists. Despite the pain and the sorrow, we must continue to believe in our ability to build bridges of coexistence, or a shared existence."
"We must not let terror win.”