Saturday March 8, 2014
Murder of Israeli Family Sparks Hasty ConclusionsDorothy Naor for Salem-News.com
This killing has furnished Israel's leaders with an opportunity to further vilify the Palestinian population.
(TEL AVIV) - The murder of a father, mother, and 3 of their 6 children in a settlement this week is horrid. Of this there is no argument. And it is horrid even though it occurs in a colony, and not only a colony, but one of the worst insofar as it is a fervent religious idealist colony, or, in other words, one of our Jewish fundamentalist colonies.
To say that it has not been nice to its Arab neighbors is to put it mildly. Even Ha’aretz comments that “Itamar is home to some of the West Bank's most fervent settlers.”
This said, that nevertheless does not justify the murder of 5 people, particularly of children, including an infant. More can be said about what is not said (see, for instance, http://mondoweiss.net/2011/03/deconstructing-the-news-from-the-west-bank.html).
But the question that has bugged me all day is ‘who benefits most from this horrendous act?’ The Palestinians? Of course not. Not only because this act sends the army into their villages to wreck homes through searches, to ‘detain’ dozens, to re-esatblish checkpoints that had been taken down (but we all knew that one incident would bring them back), and so on. And on the other side, Palestinians have been making gains internationally after having adopted a policy of non-violent protests these past years, with more and more Palestinian communities following the Bil’in pattern of protests, while Israel keeps on driving Palestinians not only off their lands but also out of their homes!
The last thing that the Palestinians needed just now when more and more countries are recognizing the yet unrealized Palestinian state and upgrading diplomatic missions was to have murder pinned on them.
Moreover, this killing has furnished Israel's leaders a heyday! They now can once again rant about Palestinian murderers and beastly inhumanity, while at the same time hypocritically bemoaning the loss of such ‘innocents.’ And we shall once again hear that Israel ‘has no partner for peace.’ How, after all, can one have beasts for partners?
Given the situation, why would a Palestinian commit such an act? Of course there are Palestinians who swim against the tide, just as there are Jews who do. And there are Palestinian murderers, just as there are Jewish ones. Still, the a priori assumption that a Palestinian committed the crime seems to me to be an error. It could have been some other being, perhaps even a Jew. I realize that this sounds perverse. But Jews have murdered one another and also others. It is not impossible. In light of Israel’s present less-than- happy image in the world, a deranged mind could believe that one way to bring Israel back into respect would be to perform a dastardly act that would be blamed on the Palestinians.
All I am saying is that to a priori hang the act on the neck of a Palestinian, without even considering that perhaps it was not a Palestinian who performed it, seems to me to be wrong. Undoubtedly a Palestinian will be found, even if he or she did not perform the act. Someone has to be blamed, and for Israel’s leaders nothing could be better than to pin the event on a Palestinian.
[Many reports from international newspapers presume a priori that the murderer was Palestinian. Eg this Reuters video http://www.reuters.com/news/
Security services are scouring the area around the West Bank settlement of Itamar after five members of a family were found stabbed to death in their home Friday night.
"The IDF and security services will act quickly and with all the tools at their disposal [meaning that the army may do whatever it wants] in order to capture those responsible for the despicable murder," Barak said.
Barak spoke with security and intelligence officials overnight, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, regarding the killings.
The family members - two parents and their three children - were killed when a suspected terrorist broke into their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar and stabbed them all to death.
According to police, the suspect broke into the house armed with a knife and stabbed the mother, father and three children, aged 11, three and an approximately one-month-old baby. It is believed that there were two other children in the house at the time of the stabbings, aged 4 and 2, who were not injured in the attack.
The family's 12-year-old daughter, who was at a youth group activity, returned to her home at approximately midnight and her calls for the door to be opened for her went unanswered. With the help of a neighbor, they managed to open the door and came upon the horrible murder scene.
Extensive police forces and Israel Defense Forces are in pursuit of the suspects or suspects.
GOC Central Command Maj. Gen Avi Mizrahi surveyed the scene of the crime with Chief of Staff Gantz, and said, "I believe that we will soon catch them and make them pay."
"This was a criminal act perpetrated by beastly men. The scenes are horrific and it is difficult for the mind to grasp what has happened," Chief of Staff Gantz said. "We will not rest and we will not be silent until we have the murderers in our hands."
Prime Minister Netanyahu was updated on the killings overnight and ordered the IDF and security services to widen the scope of their activities in order to capture the killers. Netanyahu expressed deep outrage over the horrific crime.
[all the following emphases call attention to the imagery used to paint a picture in unsuspecting minds] "This despicable murder of an entire family of innocents, parents, children and infants, while they were sleeping in their home on Shabbat," Netanyahu was quoted as saying. Netanyahu demanded that the Palestinian Authority and its president to help find the murderers.
"Israel will not return to normalcy after a despicable murder such as this. Israel will act assertively to preserve the security of the lives of Israeli citizens, and punish the murderers," Netanyahu emphasized.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed the Israeli delegation to the United Nations to submit a strongly-worded complaint to the UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon and the current president of the Security Council in the wake of the attack.
"Israel expects to hear a strong bellowing denunciation from all democratic states, who, in the name of human rights, are quick to condemn every time a trailer is moved in Judea and Samaria, but since last night have not condemned the satanic murder of an entire family, including a one-month-old baby," Lieberman added.
Lieberman said, "The fact that the Palestinian Authority has not yet announced a denunciation of this horrific attack is the ultimate proof of the true nature and character of they who are supposed to be our negotiating partner."
However, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad did condemn the attack on Saturday. "Violence does not justify violence, we condemn it completely, whoever does it and whoever the victims are," Fayyad told the Associated Press.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also denounced the attack in Itamar, calling it "an act of incomprehensible cruelty which I utterly condemn."
The overnight attack is the first attack against settlers in months and the first of its kind and scope in years. It marks a rare outburst of violence during a relatively calm period.
Itamar is home to some of the West Bank's most fervent settlers. It was the site of a similar attack in 2002, when a terrorist broke into the home of the Shabo family in Itamar and shot Rachel Shabo and three of her children - 13-year-old Zvi, five-year-old Avishai, and 16-year-old Neria.
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