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Five Jews Murdered in West Bank

Attack prompts Israeli outrage, muted Palestinian response

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The funeral today in Jerusalem.(Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

To say that five people died sounds bloodless, literally and otherwise. So to be more specific: Five members of the Fogel family—father Udi, a rabbi; mother Ruth; children Yoav (11), Elad (4) and Hadas (3 … months)—were murdered, stabbed, in their home Friday night in Itamar, a settlement in the northern West Bank. Blessedly, three of the Fogel children survived: Tamar, 12, was sleeping at a neighbor’s, and in fact was the first outsider to realize that something had happened; and two other siblings, in the house, were spared—one, 7, survived by hiding under the covers.

According to news reports, the baby’s throat was slashed but she still had a pulse—was, still alive, three months old—when the ambulance arrived at the scene long after the reported attack. The thought that she spent hours in physical and perhaps psychological torture before dying is unbearable, which is why this was terrorism at is purest.

There are a lot of questions and political implications packed into the above event, and they aren’t unimportant, and they deserve scrutiny. I’ll explore them after the jump. But first, please do whatever it is you do—whether you pray, meditate, or just take a moment—before you click ahead. And you can first click here, which the Israeli Public Ministry is trying to publicize to see photos of the slain Fogel family.

It has not yet been firmly established who killed the Fogels; the IDF is currently conducting a massive manhunt in the West Bank looking for those responsible. They do currently suspect Palestinians. “The killers appeared to have randomly picked the house,” the New York Times reports, “one of a neat row of identical one-story homes at the edge of the settlement, on a rocky incline overlooking the nearby Palestinian village of Awarta.” That location, as well as the fact that the attackers apparently first entered a different house only to find it empty, to my unexpert hearing militates in favor of the suggestion that this was an ideologically motivated terrorist attack against Jewish settlers. (A systematic failure on the Army’s part has been blamed for the breach.) A Palestinian Authority minister has argued that Palestinians were not involved in the attack, partly on the basis that it will not help the Palestinian cause.

Well … whose Palestinian cause? Hamas praised it, arguing, “According to the international law, Palestinian resistance factions have the full right to resist any kind of occupation on the land of Palestine.” (Not that it is much of its business, but Iran praised the attack too A semi-official Iranian news agency ackwardly paraphrased the statement of one group that took responsibility for the attack: “The operation was a natural response to the crimes of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people.”) Prime Minister Fayyad was relatively quick to condemn the attack, while President Abbas (who is in charge) was less so, basically waiting all of Saturday before issuing an unconscionably bland “condemnation” and “rejection” of “violence” (it bears repeating at this point that a three-month old baby had her throat slashed). It wasn’t until today that he found harsher, and more accurate, words to describe the attack.

The upheaval throughout the Arab world has put added pressure on Abbas to accede to more democratic governance. The problem is that more democratic governance in the West Bank would, if the prior elections were any indication, involve more power for Hamas. Which, if it turns out Hamas was behind the attack—and some have already noted that a senior Hamas operative was released from a Hebron prison only a few hours beforehand—could provide an explanation for it: Hamas wishing to create a crisis atmosphere that will require Abbas to either firmly side with Israel (making him unpalatable to much of his people) or with his people (making him unpalatable to Israel).

The White House called the murders a “terrorist attack.”

It seems to have shaken Israeli society far more than, say, the murder last August of four settlers in the southern West Bank. Prime Minister Netanyahu reserved some blame for the P.A. itself: “The time has come to stop this double-speak in which the Palestinian Authority outwardly talks peace and allows—and sometimes leads—incitement at home,” he said. The mayor of the nearby settlement of Ariel went a step further, laying responsibility not only at the hands of Palestinian incitement but of left-wing Israeli journalists.

More provocatively, Saturday night, the ministerial committee on settlement affairs approved the construction of 500 new homes in various West Bank settlements; as if to underline that this approval came in direct response to the Fogel murders, hard-right-wing Interior Minister Eli Yishai declared at a cabinet meeting today that there must be “at least a thousand new homes for each person murdered,” a reckless dare that I hope neither side takes up.

An Abbas spokesperson condemned the announcement—more quickly, it must be said, than Abbas condemned the attack itself. The U.S. also issued a statement declaring the building conunterproductive to peace. By Sunday, Palestinian newspapers were basically treating the attack and the building as a “he said, she said.” (There were also reports throughout America of tens of thousands of Jews banging their heads against the nearest walls, bemoaning the fact that, first, Israel is in a position where approving more homes will be seen by many in the international community as basically the equivalent of the killing of five innocent people; and that, second, Israel, knowing this, decided to do it anyway.)

Finally, there is a report that the killer or killers first entered a different house, only to find the residents not home—it turns out the Chai family was on vacation. But it was their pure luck, rather than their fortuitous name, that saved them from the Fogels’ fate.

Suspecting Palestinians, Israeli Military Hunts for Killers of 5 West Bank Settlers [NYT]
‘Daughter Yelled in Horror, Something Terrible Happened’ [JPost]
PA FM Says No Evidence of Palestinian Involved in Killing [JPost]
Mahmoud Abbas Condemns Itamar Attack [JPost]
Iran Praises Savage Murders; Haaretz Fears Right-Wing Jews [Arutz Sheva]
White House Condemns Terrorist Attack [News.AU]
Miracle in Itamar: Chai Family Escapes Murder [Ynet]
Yishai: Israel Must Build 1,000 New Units in Settlements for Every Person Murdered [Haaretz]
Ariel Mayor: Delegitimization of Settlements Caused Attacks [JPost]
Palestinians Denounce Itamar Murders, But Lay Criticism on Israel [Haaretz]
Earlier: Four West Bank Settlers Killed

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Borg says:

Party at Haaretz headquarters tonite to celebrate 5 less settlers. The following delicacies will be available- fine pecorino cheese, bacon strips, cocaine, crystal meth, bring your own contraception. Guest include the BBC press corps, CNN press corps, members of the English and Irish consulates, and Hamas members brought in by NGOs. Biggest party in Tel Aviv

jzsnake says:

Where are the posts that says the Israelis deserve it? Come on you some of you out there think that.

BH in Iowa says:

They weren’t murdered in the “West Bank.” They were murdered in the town of Itamar, in Samaria.


BH in Iowa says:

Wait, What?

“More provocatively, Saturday night, the ministerial committee on settlement affairs approved the construction of 500 new homes in various West Bank settlements;”

More provocatively?

Building homes for Jewish families in Jewish suburbs of the Jewish capitol is more provocative than slitting the throats of sleeping children?

“Reckless dare” ?


The point of this cowardly act is to drive Jews off Jewish land. The best ways to stop these tragedies from occuring in the future is to reinstate the checkpoints and to fully build and settle these communities – not to be driven out or surrender.

Yisrael says:

I’m sure there were “tens of thousands” of poor, poor American Jews banging their heads against the wall because “many in the international community” might actually live in such a moral sewer to analogize Jews building homes in neighborhoods they wish were Judenrein to the stabbing to death of 5 sleeping humans, including 3 children! Those “tens of thousands” have been doing the same kind of bewailing for years, which is why they are, and will always be, completely irrelevant in the actual pro-Israel movement in this country.

Meanwhile, there are actually hundreds of thousands of American Jews whose instincts aren’t to focus on what the f&*#ing EU envoy might think, but to first mourn the death of fellow Jews and then to take pride in the fact that they live in a time were a Jewish state can assert its own national rights despite the savagery of those who want them dead and the disapproving frowns of an “international community” that thinks Jewish bricks in a disputed territory equal the intentional brutal slaying of 5 sleeping civilians.

BH in Iowa says:

Below the graphic pictures of those Martyred is some of the “muted Palestinian response”

james says:

The author, Marc Tracy, seems to have twisted the response from the Iranian News Agency Fars. They were not ‘praising’ the attack but quoting from the press release of those claiming responsibility.

The full sentence from the news report is “The operation was a natural response to the crimes of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the statement added.”

Motl says:

Those horrible murders do not justify the occupation and the colonization of the Palestinian occupied territories.

Abbi says:

The oldest daughter was not sleeping at a friend’s, she was coming back from a Bnei Akiva meeting. Nice to just make up your own facts.

todd says:

The elephant on the room that no one wants to talk about is that this attack was not a product of any Israeli actions or of the presence of the settlers, but of a sustained and deliberate campaign of hatred directed against Jews and Israelis. It has now become an inseparable part of Palestinian culture, and for some reason no one wants to talk about it. I can’t say why, but I found an article by Dore Gold that might help:

Barry says:

This wasn’t “terror”. This was “islam”.

Precisely the Islam that CAIR and other mainstream American Muslonazi organizations wants to violently impose in the U.S.. Precisely the Islam that Obama is pacifying by reaching out to the rapists of Tahrir Square. Precisely the Islam that, since its inception by the pedophile Mohammed, has brought nothing but wickedness, violence and subhumanity to this world.

Shari’ah actions such as this are not “terror”. They are the heart and soul of mainstream “islam”.

Love Life, Hate Islam

Bennett Muraskin says:

The occupation breeds violence. That much should be obvious

All decent people should be outraged at this hideous act, but I am appalled at the expressions of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry expressed above.

If they all hate us, what is the solution? Counter violence? That is sure to keep us on this treadmill forever.

I weep for the victims. Violence begets violence and hate begets hate. More of the same is no solution.

Alter says:

Condemn the violence. Don’t pass judgment just yet.There are murderous fanatics on both sides.
Also, review reports of IDF snipers killing Palestinian children with a single bullet wound to the had. Perpetrators of both crimes should be put to death including the ones who were following orders .Don’t you think?

Alter- What reports are you referring to?

Victoria says:

What if the killers are Jewish who.did this to incite more violence? My point is that until the killers are caught we are engaging in pure speculation.

Victoria, I can think of exactly zero (0) cases of Israeli Jews randomly killing other Jews to provoke violence against the Palestinians, and hundreds of cases of Palestinians intentionally slaughtering Israelis. This is how one comes to a reasonable estimation.

George One says:

I’m waiting to hear the outrage expressed by all the leftist do-gooders at this horrible murder. What? Oh, sorry, it was not Palestinians who were murdered, it was Israelis. So, OK, no outrage.

Sandee says:

PLEASE refer to the Fogels and all others as ISRAELIS. The term “settlers is used as a pejorative. All those who live in Eretz Yisrael are ISRAELIS!

Palestiniansareamyth says:

You anti-semitic piece of trash! There is no such thing as “Palestinian occupied territories.” It’s Jewish land! There has never been a Palestinian country or people. The Arabs are the settlers and occupiers. Send the savages back to Arabia where they came from!

You’re right! haaretz is a filthy nazi rag! Hitler would be proud.

palestinianareamyth… ir zent avade rikhtik. ikh muz zayn an antisemit, a soyne-yisroel, a roshe… un ir zent gor a seykhl-hayosherdik. s’blaybt nor a tsore : der emes, di virklekhkeyt, di faktn un ir zent blind un farblendt.

hake beshinekho says:

@moti and other pro-Palestinian pissants:
eybik di ergste soyney yisroel zaynen geven un zaynen nokh haynt yidn aleyn, afile az zey redn un shraybn yidish.
[The worst enemies of Jews have been and are still today Jews themselves, even when they speak and write Yiddish.]

Being Jewish is not a qualification that sanctifies emotion-laden labels used against Jews to delegitimize them, like “occupied.” Propaganda words falsify realities.

Jews were indeed once “ethnically cleansed” from (what was then) Roman Palestine. In more modern times, when immigration again became an option, Jewish (re)migration to Palestine was severely restricted, with the net effect of the “decent” people of the world condemning the Jews of Europe to remain in the European slaughterhouse. But Arab settlement and control of Palestine was not restricted, and the Arabs were supported by the British with arms against the Jewish Palestinians. After 1949, while Arabs remained in Israel, the “Palestinian territories were kept “Judenrein” (with Jews again expelled from pre-existing Jewish areas like Gush Etzion). Today’s Palestinian “Judenrein” territories are the result of the chronic, deliberate exclusion of Jews from them. Now, by virtue of their having been “Judenrein,” you have the audacity to call them the property of the excluders and “occupied” by Israel against “international law” — the same “international law” that hardly noticed the slaughter of European Jews.

Realistically, areas of high Palestinian population concentration could be called Palestinian, but to call any of the legitimately-claimed Jewish areas “Palestinian” and “occupied” by “settlers” (rather than, at least, disputed) is a biased lie that reveals only the name-caller’s hatred of Jews!

arcaneone says:

Evil, extremist settlers save Arab baby’s life. Leftists don’t notice.
Only meters from where a Jewish baby’s life was snuffed out by Palestinian Arabs, an Arab baby’s life was saved by the community’s Jews:

IDF forces and local paramedics helped save the life of a Palestinian woman and her newly born infant Wednesday, at the settlement where Fogel relatives are sitting Shiva for the five Israelis brutally murdered last week.

Just as IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz arrived in Neve Tzuf to offer his condolences, a Palestinian cab raced towards the community’s entrance. In it, soldiers and paramedics discovered a Palestinian woman in her 20s in advanced stages of labor and facing a life-threatening situation: The umbilical cord was wrapped around the young baby girl’s neck, endangering both her and her mother.

The quick action of settler paramedics and IDF troops deployed in the area saved the mother’s and baby’s life, prompting great excitement and emotions at the site where residents are still mourning the brutal death of five local family members.

Corporal Haim Levin, 19, an IDF paramedic, was the first medical team member at the scene and recounted the dramatic situation he faced.

“When I arrived, I saw a woman covered by a blanket in a yellow Palestinian van. I moved closer and saw the baby’s head and upper body,” he told Ynet. “The umbilical cord was around the baby’s neck; the baby was grey and didn’t move.”

“I first removed the cord from the neck and at the same time asked paramedics to prepare the baby resuscitation kit. I pinched her to see if she’s responding, and she started to cry,” he said. Paramedics also treated the mother, who was in good condition at that point, Levin said.

Meanwhile, ambulance driver Orly Shlomo raced to the scene. “We joined the military paramedic and helped him cut off the umbilical cord…without the medical treatment, the fetus and woman faced genuine life danger,” she told Ynet.


arcaneone says:

“It was touching, but I couldn’t help but think that a few meters from there, people were sitting Shiva for another baby, who was murdered,” she said. “I was touched to see the face of the new baby, but I also thought about the face of the murdered baby.”

Gadi Amitun, who heads the Magen David Adom team at Neve Tzuf, said this was not the first time settlers assist Palestinians in distress.

“They know we have a skilled medical team here, and in any case of accident or injury they arrive and we help them,” he said.

The paramedic noted that on the day of the Fogel massacre, settlers saw fireworks and celebrations in nearby Palestinian communities, but added that the local medical team is committed to assisting anyone in need.

Palestinians from the nearby village of Nabi Salah gathered around the paramedics along with the new grandmother and could not hide their joy.

“They thanked us and told us they named the girl Jude,” Corporal Levin said.

Compare this article to how a Mondoweiss writer named Max Ajl describes what he think the left’s reaction should be to the Itamar murders:

You want my condemnation? You will not have it. No one should respond to such demagogic moral blackmail. We killed those children. There are those who will warp my words. Good luck. I do not want children to die, no child deserves to die or deserves such parents or deserves to be born into such a society or such a state.

It is amazing that the Jewish anti-Israel left is less sympathetic to the Itamar victims than the neighboring Arabs whose land is supposedly being stolen. And to these sickening leftists, Jews who want to live in Judea and Samaria do not have the right to life.

I have news for Ajl: No child deserves to be born into his household, one that is filled with such hate.

ELDER OF ZION, 3/17/11


arcaneone says:

Glad to see TABLET got a well-deserved publishing award. Who presented it, the 3 Stooges(all Jews)?

theMoja says:

The answers to all these anti-Arab, anti-Israel, who did what to whom & who has the most right to the land is this: You’re asking the wrong questions. Here is the question we should be asking: Who are the instigators & main perpetrators of wars, terrorism, rape, pillage, conquest & genocide? MEN.
Yes, I know of the women in the Israeli & other armies, & the Amazons of Dahomey & Greece. But historically & contemporarily, the vast, combatants of war have been & remain men. Am I wrong? Name one war that was instigated by women. Check statistics. Read global histories. Our problem is the unchecked, unacknowledged toxicity of testosterone. Not to demonize males. This is everybody’s problem, & if we are going to solve it women and men need to cooperate together. GOALS:
1. Violence must never ever be a solution for anything. Let us dedicate ourselves, as a species, to make any kind of violence as repugnant as the eating of one’s own feces.
2. Glorify, even sanctify cooperation & peaceful conflict resolution among individuals & groups.
3. Globally redefine all permutations, (however disguised or rationalized) of nationalism,
patriotism, racism, etc. as atavistic & unacceptable, & consciously commit to evolving ourselves past artificial divisions. We are all each other’s people.
4. Remember lovingkindness? Anybody? Yes? OK, no exceptions.
How can humans possibly achieve such utopian goals?
Glad you asked. Women of the Earth–do not in any was support or condone the violent proclivities or activities of boys & men. Guys–dismantle all weapons, stay home, cook, knit, raise the kiddies, play some sports. Amateur sports. Dismiss yourselves from all occupations, avocations, positions of decision-making that might effect the well-being of the People, Mother Earth & all her abundant creations. You need a break, we all need a break. How about this? Only women permitted to run the world. Say 5 yrs, no, better make that 10. See how things go. Namaste, y’all.

arcaneone says:

“namaste”is a Sanskrit word meaning “peace”. It comes from a country where there have been hundreds of lethal atacks on women sanctioned by their in-laws, where women were, at least until recently, burned alive on the deaths of their husbands
(the suttee rite), and where a caste system is still unofficially enforced. Namaste, y’all.

theMoja says:

Your point being…?


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Five Jews Murdered in West Bank

Attack prompts Israeli outrage, muted Palestinian response

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