Ya'alon was asked whether security forces had apprehended those responsible for the Jewish terrorist attack which killed three members of the Dawabsheh family, to which he answered, "We know who is responsible, but we will not expose those findings in order to protect our intelligence sources."
Ya'alon arrived at the ceremony, a festive event welcoming the New Year with the Likud youth, and referred to the incident which shocked the whole country.
"We are facing difficulties in establishing solid evidence," Ya'alon said to the attendees. "Right now we are not prosecuting those responsible in order to not expose our intelligence sources in court."
Ya'alon reaffirmed his comments during a Thursday a briefing at the Kirya military base, which centered on the lack of progress made in the Shin Bet investigation. He compared the current situation faced by the defense establishment to attempts at solving the investigations of two terrorist attacks in the early 1990s, which were thought to have been carried out by terrorists from the Popular Front during his time as commander of the Judea and Samarea division.
"We didn’t have enough evidence at that point to charge them, even though we know that they had carried out the attacks," he said. "So we arrested 59 members of the Popular Front who lived in the Ramallah area, and placed them in an extended six month administrative detention, and they were released after two years," he added.
"The attacks stopped immediately after the arrests, but resumed soon after their release. We won't stop our efforts to gather the evidence which will lead to indictments of those responsible for the Duma attack," Ya'alon concluded.
Naser Dawabsheh, a member of the family, responded to the statement saying, "Ya'alon's statement is not justified, Israel must immediately expose the murderers. They burned the whole society and not just Duma."
Dawabsheh continued to say, "I know the attack was a major incident for Israel, and that Israel wants to arrest them in order to show the world that it is a country which chases and apprehends murderers." But he also added that, "Even if they will be arrested, what will happen then? The court will just say they are crazy, and they will live out their lives in some hotel like the murderers of Mohamed Abu- Khdeir."
Member of Knesset Aida Toma-Suleiman (Joint Arab List) reacted to Ya'alon's comments saying, "The Minister of Defense, who left the Dawabsheh family to die, continues his flagrant scornful attitude by saying that they will not prosecute the criminal murderers - in order to not expose their sources."
The Joint List MK continued to say, "Would it even be possible to think that the defense establishment would act the same way if a Jewish family was murdered. Ya'alon's remarks confirm the forgiving attitude within the system towards settler terrorism, which allows for the next murder."
The Dawabsheh family home was set alight on July 31st. An initial investigation revealed that masked men threw Molotov cocktails into two homes, and spray painted "Long live the messiah king," and "revenge" in Hebrew on the walls.
The Dawabsheh family was staying in one of the homes, while the other was vacant. The family woke up as a result of the fire, and tried to escape the flames with two of their children, four-year-old Ahmed and eighteen-month-old Ali. The family managed to escape, however infant Ali died as a result of his burns.
Saed Dawabsheh, Ali's father, succumbed to his injures a week later. Ali's mother, Reham fought for her life for over a month, but she too succumbed to her wounds on Sunday. The condition of the family's eldest son, Ahmed, has improved slightly in recent weeks, but he continues to be treated in the intensive care unit at Beer Sheva's Soroka hospital.
Reham's funeral took place in Duma, with 2000 people in attendance. Marchers at her funeral procession could be heard chanting, "Oh, Hamas, oh, al Qassam, attack them, the blood of the martyrs is calling you," while others yelled "Stop the criminals and murderers."
According to the Dawabsheh family, they have yet to be updated on the progress of the situation in light of multiple requests to the relevant officials.