Murdered Bedouin sisters laid to rest
Young girls' east Jerusalem funeral guarded by Palestinian police for fear father suspected of killing them will try to harm his ex-wife. 'We paid the price for the police's negligence,' mother says, as grandfather vows to 'sue those responsible for this murder'
Two-year-old Asinad and four-year-old Ramais were laid to rest in the east Jerusalem village of al-Azaria, where their mother lives. Their father, who is suspected of murdering them, has yet to be arrested.
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The mother, Abir Dandis, arrived at the funeral accompanied by a Palestinian Authority police force for fear that her ex-husband would try to harm her.
"It's fate. I never expected to reach such a situation, but it's all in God's hands," Dandis told Ynet.
She added, "A week ago I took my four children on a trip together with my mother and sister, and we ate mulukhiya (a type of Middle Eastern vegetable soup) together, because my oldest daughter who was murdered asked me to make her this meal. My ex-husband heard that we went on the trip and got very angry."
Young girls laid to rest (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Family members stand over graves (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Addressing the decision to dismiss the Arad Police commander over the failure to handle her complaint against her ex-husband, the mother clarified that it was not enough.
"It's an easy punishment. We paid the price because of the police's negligence, and I demand professional police work to protest me and all the women in our society. Every mother who files a complaint should be dealt with and protected, rather than waiting for disasters to happen," she said.
Sayyid Dandis, the girls' grandfather, shares his daughter's criticism of the police's conduct. "We must fund responsible police officers, who will handle people who call to report dangerous events quickly rather than disregarding them," he said. "Our family will not ignore this incident, and we'll sue whoever needs to be sued so that anyone responsible for the murder of these two girls will be punished."
'Father who murders his girls is inhuman'
The grandfather added during the funeral that he had seen his granddaughter for the last time a year and a half ago, "because the criminal ex-husband prevented it from us, and only after the murder we are seeing them dead. We can't understand how a father could murder his girls. He is inhuman in my opinion."
The grandfather said he and his wife feared for their lives, as the suspect continued to threaten them. "He would always say to us that he is the Israeli government and he can do whatever he wants, and would threaten to kill us. My daughter will not come back to live in my house until they arrest the suspect in this crime."
The girls' grandmother said earlier that "he called the house the day before yesterday in the morning hours, and threatened to kill me. He also called my son and threatened to murder him too. We have also received calls that the criminal rented a car in the territories and is wandering around our village. People have warned us against him.
"This isn't the first time he threatens us," she added. "He would always call and threaten. I urge the Israel Police to reach him and punish him. As long as he is not arrested, our lives will remain in danger."
Dozens of people attend funeral (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Mother supported by friends and relatives (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The bodies of two girls were found on Tuesday in the father's house in the village of al-Furah in the Negev, near the southern city of Arad. The bodies of both girls bore signs of violence. Rescue crews entered the house and found the two girls dead in their beds.
The girls' mother said she had complained to the police about the father's violent behavior a day before their bodies were found. She warned that he was planning to hurt them, but the complaint did not prompt the police to act. The police failed to send an officer to the father's house and he was not summoned for questioning.
Southern District Commander Yoram Halevi commented on the murder investigation on Friday morning, saying that "we are still pursuing the murderer. We are putting in all efforts. The entire district is engaged in this. The investigation has yet to be completed. This is the main issue we are dealing with."
Commander Halevi addressed Bedouin residents' claims that the police were not treating their complaints in an equal manner. "We treat all citizens equally," he said. "I apologize in front of the mother for this concrete failure by the police officer. We know how to handle it. The station must be rehabilitated and new commanders must be appointed. We have many citizens to serve."
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino appointed a national committee of inquiry to look into the police's conduct before the murder, and decided to discharge the Arad Police commander, his deputy and the head of the station's investigations department in accordance with the committee's recommendations.
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch commented on the murder and police failure on Friday morning. "We will fix whatever needs fixing," he said. "One should not reach conclusions about all the police from one concrete failure."
Meanwhile, Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) and Knesset Member Orit Strock (Habayit Hayehudi) have requested an urgent discussion at the Committee on the Status of Women following the murder of the two young girls.
The lawmakers noted in their request that the discussion was important due to the discovery that the police failed to act in spite of the mother's warnings. They added that the incident was the tip of the iceberg in terms of violence towards women and children in the Bedouin sector, and that they should be protected in any way possible.