Monday, March 14

The Massacre at Itamar

Two terrorists broke into the home of the Fogel family in Itamar in the occupied West Bank early Saturday morning 12 th March 2011 and stabbed five family members to death. This occurred at 1 a.m.

The terrorists murdered Udi Fogel, his wife, Ruth, and their 3 children, Yoav 11 years, Elad 4 years, and Hadas, 3 months.

This is a terrible massacre in cold blood. It is a gruesome tragedy beyond words. The terrorists, who committed this ghastly act, are inhuman. We are all in a state of shock over this appalling tragedy.

Three siblings who were not home at the time and survived are: Tamar 12 years, Roi 8 years and Yishai 2 years. They are staying with their grandparents.

Those terrorists who were responsible for these cruel murders must be found and brought to justice as soon as possible.

Murder of innocent people must be condemned in the strongest possible terms irrespective of whether they are Israelis or Palestinians. There can never be justification for this under any circumstances. Looking for excuses to condone this massacre is morally unacceptable. Killing an innocent family while they are sleeping is despicable.

Having said this, there is no reason to vent one's anger on the Palestinian population. Most Palestinians are against the massacres that occurred and realize that it does not serve their cause.

The cabinet ministers of the Israeli government, who attended the funeral of the victims, stated that they would now support the acceleration of building 400 housing units in the West Bank to increase the Jewish population there.

The funeral of the Fogel family victims was attended by 20000 people. Statements were made of a political nature which could be viewed as a rallying cry of the right to continue building settlements in the occupied territories.

We all know that the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have come to a halt and while much emotion was exhibited at the funeral, there is no place to use rhetoric supporting the building of new homes in the territories. It is childish and vengeful! Even Motti, the brother of the late Udi Fogel, said that he did not want the funeral to be tainted by political messages. Naturally the right wing MKs did not lose an opportunity to make some political capital in support of the occupation.

On the other hand, people who settle in the West Bank, which is occupied territory, are placing themselves at risk. Itamar has been in the news quite often because of the behavior of "hilltop youth" who foment violence and destruction of Palestinian property in the vicinity. There have also been cases of violence being committed against Palestinians even resulting in death.

It is an unfortunate fact that the present Israeli Government as well as their predecessors has done much to encourage illegal settlement in the occupied territories. This is unacceptable and irresponsible.
The encouragement of illegal settlements in the occupied territories amongst a hostile Palestinian population is unfair not only to the Palestinians, but also to the Israelis who wish to build their homes there. Settlers who seek religious justification for living there are putting their lives as well as the lives of their children in harms way. There is no victory in death when terrorists break into homes and murder innocent people who wish to maintain a Jewish religious lifestyle. What advantage is to be gained by putting the lives of innocent people and their children in mortal danger?

The only way to prevent tragedies of this nature is to end the occupation and allow the settlers to return within the pre 1967 borders. This would prevent tragedies of this nature from reoccurring.
At the same time it is essential that movement must be made to restart peace talks with the Palestinian Authority with the intention of creating an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace.

The occupation is bad for Israel and while it lasts there will never be peace between Israel and the Palestinians. At this stage, there does not seem to be any signs of revolt by the Palestinian people against their leadership as is occurring in the surrounding Arab countries.
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