Israel probes video of Jewish extremists celebrating toddler death

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli authorities said Thursday they had opened an investigation into a video showing gun-wielding Jewish extremists at a wedding celebrating the death of a Palestinian toddler in a firebombing.

The video, broadcast by an Israeli news programme, has spread online and drawn strong condemnation from Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It shows attendees at the wedding of a radical right-wing couple dancing with guns, knives and at least one unlit molotov cocktail, while also stabbing a picture of the toddler killed in a firebombing blamed on Jewish extremists.

Israeli media reported that the groom has previously been questioned over acts of "Jewish terrorism" while other attendees were friends or relatives of suspects arrested over the July firebombing.

Netanyahu called the video "shocking" and said it showed "the true face of a group that constitutes a danger to Israeli society and to the security of Israel."

"We are not prepared to accept people who deny the laws of the state and do not view themselves as subject to them," he said in a statement.

In recent weeks, Israeli authorities have arrested a number of suspected Jewish extremists over the July 31 firebombing in the West Bank village of Duma, though no one has been charged with the crime.

Their detentions have sparked anger among far-right Israelis who have held several protests, including outside the home of a judge, while lawyers have alleged torture of suspects by the domestic security agency, Shin Bet.

The firebombing killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha, while his parents later died from severe burns. The couple's four-year-old son was the sole survivor from the immediate family.

A Star of David and the words "revenge" and "long live the Messiah" were spray-painted on a wall near the family's small house.

Palestinians have often highlighted the lack of progress in the Duma case as one of the causes of a wave of knife, gun and car-ramming attacks targeting Israelis that began on October 1.

The firebombing drew renewed attention to Jewish extremism and accusations Israel had not done enough to prevent such violence.

Young Jewish men from wildcat settlement outposts in the West Bank and known as the "hilltop youth" have been blamed for violence and vandalism targeting Palestinians, Christian holy sites and even Israeli military property.