The massacre of the Fogel family (parents, 11-year-old son, four-year-old son, and four-month-old daughter) in Itamar has utterly preoccupied my thoughts in the last few days. I have had so many thoughts churning in my head about what happened, how it came about, and where it’s taking us next, that I’ve had difficulty functioning normally. I suppose that in itself is normal. Here are some of the things that have been brewing in my mind.
Thought No. 1: Photos of the massacre
The extended family opted to release photos (faces blurred; stab wounds, blood, disarray of bodies visible) of the carnage. Normally, I can’t bear to look at such things; I usually feel as though the knowledge of the atrocity is enough. But because the Internet is covered with pictures of dead Arabs (some real, others undoubtedly fake or misrepresented), I believed it was my duty to honor the family’s decision by viewing them myself. If you are prepared to be hit by an anvil of emotion, I advise you to view them. This is not voyeurism; it’s what the Fogels’ own surviving children saw, and it acknowledges the reality of what we face as Jews in the form of ecstatic hatred by our Arab neighbors. No doubt some Arabs are equally horrified by what happened, but they will remain silent and do nothing to hold their own society accountable for it. The rest of us must witness this crime and call it what it is: a manifestation of the most barbaric form of war. A Mother in Israel has links to the photos from her post here, and Jameel at the Muqata uploaded a video about the massacre on his blog, which includes the chain of events, family photos, the names and ages of the victims, and photos of the crime scene. (These links will take you to the blogs, not directly to the photos; proceed to the links and video at your own discretion, but please do NOT view them with children in the room.)
Thought No. 2: The Israeli government’s response to the massacre
In response to the massacre of the Fogel family, the Israeli government has decided to approve building plans for hundreds of new apartments in major settlement blocs.
Forgive me if I don’t fall all over myself in gratitude.
Why the bilious response to this show of generosity on the part of Netanyahu’s government? Because building should have been resumed throughout Yehuda and Shomron months ago, as soon as the one-time, 10-month building freeze expired. Instead, Ehud Barak has refused to issue new building tenders to the main settlement blocs (although Westbankmama informs me that building in the smaller settlements resumed normally), effectively extending the freeze in the stupidest possible way, i.e. so that housing and rental prices in the settlements were driven sky-high artificially, but on the Q.T. so Israel wasn’t getting credit for any “confidence-building” gestures towards the PA.
So now the government shows that only the spilling of Jewish blood can override Barak’s personal Leftie politics in the government. Why? Has Netanyahu suddenly lost respect for his former IDF commander? Is it in response to a new stain on Barak’s character, with the opening of an investigation of Mrs. Ehud Barak for hiring an illegal worker as a housekeeper? Or is it because the scales suddenly fell from Netanyahu’s eyes and he realized that Israel has no peace partner, and it’s absurd to pretend that he does?
I hope it’s the last of these. While the press and the Left (Jewish and non-) lie in wait to decry any form of incitement on the part of Israelis, and pounces if a group of rabbis announces
that Jews shouldn’t rent or sell homes to Arabs, it has said nothing about the decades-long incitement to murder (not just refusal to rent; murder) spewed forth from mosques and drilled into children’s heads in Arab schools. Even when it bears its bitter fruit, as it did in Itamar (and has in a past slaughter of an Itamar family; their edginess doesn’t come from nowhere), no one on the Left seems interested in where it came from. When Palestinians kill (which is frequently), it’s from frustration. When Jews kill (which is almost never), it’s extremism. (Just read the comments following online articles about the massacre: when it’s about the family, people are sympathetic; when it’s about the IDF being called out to prevent revenge attacks, the “illegal” settlers are thugs, extremists, animals, and deserve everything they get, including the murders.)
The world’s collective moral compass needs recalibrating. Settlement in Yehuda and Shomron has been declared legal by many international law experts, and those who repeat ad nauseum that they are illegal (or illegitimate; what IS the difference, Hillary?) stand on shaky, highly selective legal ground, at best. Because what this delusion leads to is a double-standard which says that Arabs killing Jews is understandable, but Jews killing Arabs is criminal; that Jewish families who are murdered in their beds only got what was coming to them (just as women who are raped while jogging at night only get what’s coming to them); and that Arabs need not obey the law, but Jews always must.
Thought No. 3: Condemnation
I have one further thought on this for today, and that is the condemnations that have been issued from various quarters. Condemnations are meaningless words, not actions. Carefully worded condemnations have been issued from PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas. Those are hollow words, considering everything those two have done to nurture bloodlust and Jew-hatred among the people they pretend to represent. Here is an article that examines just a few of the activities under the aegis of the Palestinian Authority in recent days that encourage and glorify the slaughter of Israelis. Some highlights:
- Two months ago, Abbas awarded $2000 to the family of an Arab who attacked and tried to kill Israeli soldiers.
- The day before the Fogel massacre, an adviser to Abbas delivered a speech saying that weapons must be turned toward the main enemy and that internal differences must be set aside. He criticized the paltry allowances awarded to families of terrorist “martyrs” and praised the PA’s honoring of female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi by naming a square after her in the town of El-Bireh.
- A PA newspaper recently announced the creation of a football tournament in Ramallah named in honor of another female terrorist, Wafa Idris, who used her position as a Palestinian Red Crescent volunteer to bypass Israeli security, enter Jerusalem, and blow herself up, killing one and injuring over 150 on January 27, 2002.
- The PA recently commemorated some of the terrorists who came from the Dahaishe refugee camp (located right next to Efrat) and murdered Israelis in March of 2002 with a march through the camp, ending at the family home of a suicide bomber who killed nine Israelis.
- At a recent gathering to celebrate 46 years since the founding of Fatah, the group restated its aim to achieve the goals for which it was established, read aloud its call for “self-sacrifice” (i.e. terror attacks against Israel), watched some military and scout demonstrations, and blew up a model of Israeli settlements.
If good people really want to condemn this kind of violence and celebration of murder of innocents, the way to do it is to investigate where your country’s, your church’s, and your own money is going. Does your country support the Palestinian Authority? Chances are, it does. Perhaps you and other concerned citizens should call on your governments to reevaluate whether the PA shares your country’s values in areas such as human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, rule of law, a real justice system, and hate-free education. Are they funding NGOs that seek to delegitimize the state of Israel, providing fodder for Arab attacks (with words, bombs, and sometimes, knives) against innocent civilians? Does your church give to organizations that fund youth centers which indoctrinate Arab children in violence, like this one funded by an Australian church? Are they, directly or indirectly, funding terror and jihad on your own country’s soil? If you find your money is being funneled into activities (and crimes) you don’t approve of, stop giving, and tell others.
Terror costs money; is it being paid for with yours?