Edge of Terror
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|Martin Barillas||March 14th 2011|
Cutting Edge Senior Correspondent
|The Murdered Fogel Family|
During the night hours of March 11, Palestinians terrorists crept into the home of an Israeli rabbi and his sleeping family and slayed them. Rabbi Udi Fogel (36), his wife Ruth (34), 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas were stabbed to death in their home in the middle of night of in the Jewish settlement of Itamar; their two other children survived. The Fogel’s two surviving sons, Ro’i, 8 and Shai, 2, were sleeping and went miraculously unnoticed by the terrorists. A daughter, Tamar, 12, was out at the time at a day camp, and discovered the murders upon her return at 12:30 a.m. It is believed that the perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime entered the Fogel home at approximately 10:30 pm following the family’s observance of the Sabbath meal.
The Palestinian terrorist group Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades has reportedly claimed responsibility for the murders. A video circulating on the Web showed still photos of the Fogel family paired by crime scene shots of their bloody, ravaged bodies. The video notes that in 2002, Palestinian terrorists crept into the Itamar settlement and murdered Rachel Shevo and three of her children. Two other children were wounded in that assault.
Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak promised that the “iron hand” of Israeli vengeance would come down upon the murderers. He was joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who promised that the killers would be brought to justice. “I would like to express my deep outrage, outrage which is certainly felt by every Israeli over the murder of a young family,” said Netanyahu. “We embrace and support the orphans and the other members of the family. We embrace and support our brothers who reside in Judea and Samaria.” He added, “There is no justification and there can be neither excuse nor forgiveness for the murder of children,” he added. “There has never been anything like this, in which terrorists entered a home and cut children’s throats.” The prime minister also criticized the Palestinian Authority for what he called its incitement to terrorism. "Regrettably, we see the PA awarding scholarships to the families of murderers. We see that they name squares after terrorists who murdered dozens of Israelis. These do not jibe with education for peace."
Also, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the murders and said she was shocked and deeply saddened by the slaughter in the West Bank, and called on the Palestinian Authority to explicitly condemn the attack. 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.
Prime Minister Netanyahu called on the international community as well as the Palestinian Authority to "unequivocally" condemn the attack, after both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad issued statements on the event condemning violence, which were unsatisfactory for Netanyahu. Defense Minister Barak said that "Israel's security, its future and its borders will be designed and shaped by our decisions and not by murderous terrorism." He continued, "Our hearts are with the orphans without a mother or father, and with all of the families."
Israeli security forces thronged into the Itamar settlement as a security measure. The funeral for the murdered members of the Fogel family came on February 13 and was attended by dignitaries and 20,000 other mourners. Speaking at the funeral was Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon who had said earlier that day that the Itamar terror attack highlights an existential threat to Israel. "This murder reminds everyone that the struggle and conflict is not about Israel's borders or about independence of a repressed nation but a struggle for our existence. Therefore, we cannot continue speaking about security while the essence is neglected – the essence which is Israel's right to its land," said Yaalon.
At the funeral, former Israeli Chief Rabbi and current Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, a survivor of the Holocaust and chairman of the Yad Vashem , lamented that one would have thought such senseless violence spurred by ethnic hatred would have ended with World War II 66 years ago. But “the river of blood continues to flow and we stand here today helpless,” he said. “What can you say when you see a two or three-month-old baby stabbed to death? We read this past Shabbat the book of the Torah that begins with sacrifices – but who could have thought of sacrifices such as these?”
Rabbi Yehudah Ben Ishai, a teacher at the Machon Meir Yeshiva and Ruth Fogel’s father, spoke in soft tones of the family’s sacrifice. “Come, pure souls,” he said, almost in a whisper. “Come … and see. Our children are willing to come to the altar of our Temple, as sacrifices they came.” He also beseeched the Creator, saying “Take now our pain as an offering. Pour Your light upon us. Look at who you took.”
Calls were coming from various sectors demanding that the PA should abandon the glorification of terrorists and incitement of violence. Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in a statement, “Until the Palestinian Authority leadership goes beyond mere words of condemnation and brings an end to the glorification of violence and the veneration of terrorists, an essential element for achieving peace will continue to be missing. The Quartet and each of its members should take every opportunity to publicly condemn the ongoing incitement against Israel and to urge the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to bring it to an end.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu also criticized the Palestinian Authority for what he called its incitement to terrorism. "Regrettably, we see the PA awarding scholarships to the families of murderers. We see that they name squares after terrorists who murdered dozens of Israelis. These do not jibe with education for peace." Palestinian president Abbas dedicated a town square – just one day after the terrorist massacre in Itamar – after the jihadist leader of a 1978 bus hijacking in which 35 Israelis were killed. The PA regularly pays special benefits to terrorists killed on their missions, including those who detonate explosive vests to kill themselves and victims.
Cutting Edge Senior Correspondent Martin Barillas also edits Speroforum.com