Lost in the news from Japan on Friday was word of a terrorist attack in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Itamar. A family of five, including three children ages 11, 4, and 3 months, were savagely stabbed. According to the Jerusalem Post:
Five family members were found murdered in their residence in the West Bank Itamar settlement Friday overnight, after a suspected terrorist broke and entered the house and stabbed the five to death. Two children managed to escape and survived the attack, Army Radio reported.
A Magen David Adom team that arrived at the scene at 1:00 a.m. announced a couple, their 11-year old child, 3-year-old toddler, and a one-month baby girl dead from stabbing wounds.
Initial reports said that an armed terrorist cut the fence surrounding the settlement and stabbed to death the couple and their children. It was not yet clear whether more than one terrorist was involved in the attack.
According to the settler Yeasha council, about 100 families live in Itamar.
That the attack was not just a case of random murder seems confirmed by Palestinian sources:
Palestinian media on Saturday reported that a faction of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the stabbing incident.
Not Hamas, mind you, or Islamic Jihad, both of which oppose the Palestinian Authority and its Fatah leadership, and so might expect to be blamed. No, this is a Fatah faction claiming responsibility.
So when I heard about this horrendous crime this morning (by way of a Facebook post by Viola Larson), I just knew that those agencies and allies of the mainline churches in the United States that are so concerned about every olive tree that is uprooted and every new settlement building permit that is approved would have something to say about the need for non-violence, a condemnation of terrorism, or at least an expression of condolences to the surviving Fogel children who were not with the rest of the family when they were slaughtered in their beds. so I checked Churches for Middle East Peace, and found this:
Then I looked at the Israel Palestine Mission Network, and turned up this:
A check at the mainline-backed U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation blog revealed this:
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship had this to say:
The newly organized Episcopal Palestine Israel Network (can’t be too derivative, doncha know), responded this way:
The American Friends Service Committee said this:
Now, that’s not to say they’ve all been asleep the past four days. The IPMN, for instance, on its Facebook page has put up two posts about Peter King’s hearing and three about Pink Floyd’s Roger Water’s new song about the security fence (another brick in the wall and all that). The USCEIO has a post on its blog about a banner hung at an environmental conference protesting the presence of a Democratic congressman who had the nerve to speak to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The AFSC put up an article about the King hearings on their front page.
Of course, this was a settler family, so we all know they get just what they deserve. No need to waste any concern there.
UPDATED: The IPMN has acknowledged that something took place at Itamar on Friday. They’ve posted links to two items:
1) A story from the BBC about the condemnation of the attack by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, placed without comment; and
Wrong actions answered with wrong actions…
For the record, I agree that the Israeli action is the wrong response (of course, I’ve thought building settlements in the West Bank was wrong from the time they started decades ago). But it’s incredible to me that the most forceful thing the IPMN can say is to equate the cold-blooded murder of five people, including three children, with the unwise and possibly illegal building of homes. Incredible, and disgusting.
UPDATE: From Ha’aretz, an example of Palestinian reaction:
“I don’t believe that the incident in Itamar is an act of resistance, but rather an act by individuals whom we condemn, in the event it was carried out by Palestinians. Stabbing children in their sleep is not a heroic act but rather that of the heartless, like some of the occupation soldiers and settlers, who murder children,” Hafez Barghouti, editor-in-chief of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote on Sunday.
He added that the “real murderers in Itamar are the zealous settlers and anyone who burned a tree, vandalized the cemetery in Awarta, forced out the residents of Khirbet Yanun, took control of a plot of land or robbed an olive harvest …. The act at Itamar was a message to the occupation and to the world … whose meaning is clear – the occupation must go.”
(Via Hot Air.)
UPDATE: From Ynet News, reports of Palestinian reactions in the streets:
Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.
Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy “is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank.”
Hamas, meanwhile, didn’t do it, but are jealous of whoever did:
The Hamas movement accused the Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus of arresting three of its activists near Qalqilya and Jenin.
“The report of five murdered Israelis is not enough to punish someone,” said Hamas Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, adding, “However; we in Hamas completely support the resistance against settlers who murder and use crime and terror against the Palestinian people under the auspices of the Israeli occupation soldiers.”