It seemed logical to conclude that the murders were done by Palestinians, as the pattern fit many previous incidents of the same type, but nobody could be formally blamed in the absence of proof, and no organization admitted to the crime.
The murders were so brutal and senseless that the evoked almost universal condemnation. Mahmud Abbas, President of the Palestinian authority, condemned the murders as a matter of course. Even the Hamas eventually condemned the massacre as did the Turkish Foreign Minister.
The killers of the Fogel family were not found for quite a while. In the absence of proof as to the culprits, Palestinians could enjoy the benefit of the doubt and exploit it. The Palestinian Ma’an News Service circulated a rumor that the murders were done by Thai workers who were supposedly being questioned; a canard that was quickly echoed by terror groupies.
The Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riad al Malki, piously denied that Palestinians could be guilty of such barbarous acts. He declared:
“The killing of an infant and the slaughtering of people in this way was never carried out by any Palestinians for national motives or revenge…This puts a question mark over the swift accusation made by the Israeli side – to the effect that Palestinians had carried out the attack.”
The world has a brief memory. With a single stroke, Malki erased a venerable Palestinian tradition of senseless massacres of over a hundred years, including the Nebi Musa massacre, the Hadassah Convoy massacre, the Jerusalem Massacre of 1929, the Hebron Massacre of 1929, the Maalot massacre, the Coastal Road massacre, the Lod Airport Massacre, the Passover massacre, the Metzer massacre, the Sbarro Pizzeria Massacre and the Dolphinarium Discotheque massacre among many others, performed in territories occupied in 1967, carried out before 1967, and even before the establishment of the state of Israel. The victims of these massacres were mostly civilians and often people with no involvement in the conflict. They included doctors and nurses, children, Israeli Jewish rightists, Israeli Jewish leftists, Israeli Arabs, Puerto-Rican Americans in Lod, Zionists in the Metzer Massacre and non-Zionists in Hebron, old people in the Passover massacre, teenagers in the Dolphinarium Discotheque. These murders were just as brutal as those of Itamar. Mr Malki had ample proof that in the past, Palestinians had indeed murdered infants and others for national motives, for revenge, or because thugs were paid a sufficient sum. The Itamar massacre was not even exceptional.
More recently Israeli security forces announced the arrests of two teen-agers from the nearby village of Awarta, members of the PFLP, who had committed the crime. They were Hakim Maazan Niyad Awad and Amjad Muhammad Fawzi Awad. The weapons were supplied by Muhammad Said Awad of the PFLP. A number of Awad family member assisted in different ways. It is hard to believe that nobody else in the village knew about the attack beforehand and that the Palestinian Authority had no idea of the identity of the attackers. The Itamar massacre can be added to the proud record of Palestinian massacres.
Most of the world probably never heard of the Itamar massacre, or took care to forget it rather quickly. The graph below shows the Google search trend data for “Itamar Massacre.”
By way of comparison, here are the search trend data for the “Mavi Marmara.”
The comparison is striking. In a month, nobody will remember the Itamar massacre or its victims except Israelis.
Can we realistically expect, now that the identity of the perpetrators is clearer, that the U.S. supported “moderate” Palestinian Authority will admit some Palestinian responsibility for the murders? Will Riad Malki retract his absurd declaration and apologize? Will the Palestinian Authority take steps to downgrade the value of terror in Palestinian society? It is not likely. The Palestinian Authority has consistently pursued a policy of glorifying terrorist acts and terrorists. On March 28, 2011, the Palestinian Authority honored the family of Abbas Al-Sayid who planned the attacks and who is currently in prison. Issa Karake, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, visited the family of al-Sayid, a Hamas member and awarded them an official, festive plaque, in celebration of the anniversary of the Passover massacre. Palestinian officials also honored Dalal Mughrabi, perpetrator of the bloody Coastal Road massacre,
It would certainly be wrong to draw racist conclusions from the Palestinian record, or to conclude that Palestinian culture is irretrievably violent.The descendants of the rapacious and violent Vikings are mild mannered Swedes and Danes, and the grandchildren of German Nazis are pacifists.
It would be equally wrong to ignore the Palestinian record, or to assume that Palestinian violence will subside if the occupation ends or living conditions improve. Israeli withdrawal from Gaza did not, after all, reduce terror. Judging from the past record, it is probable that ending the occupation and granting independence will encourage Palestinian violence, but a people cannot be kept indefinitely under occupation.
The prospect would be less fraught with anxiety if there were any hint that the Palestinian leadership is really serious about containing violence, and any evidence that the outside world will ever be concerned about Palestinian violence for more than a day or two. On the contrary, it seems that the world wants to pretend the problem does not exist, and Palestinians are only too glad to help make the facts vanish.
The reaction to the Itamar massacre establishes a worrisome pattern for the future. If there is no longer an Israeli occupation it will be impossible for Israeli authorities to find the perpetrators of terror attacks.The Palestinian leaders will pretend they never do such terrible things. They will blame the murders on Thais, Finns or Martians. The usual degenerate terror groupies will believe them or pretend to believe them. In the absence of proof, of course, Israel will be unable to respond to attacks or deter them, though everyone will know who perpetrated the attacks, just as everyone understood who perpetrated the Itamar massacre, though some pretended otherwise.