Ynet recently published a story – “Shin Bet seeks to raze Itamar terrorists home” – which reports on a recommendation presented to Israel’s defense minister to approve the demolition of the homes of Amjad and Hakim Awad, who were responsible for Fogel family massacre in Itamar over a year ago.
“According to the recommendation the houses in the village of Awarta should be destroyed as part of the deterrence mechanism against Palestinian families who give refuge to members of the family involved in terrorism.”
While we covered the brutal attack on the Fogel family last year, I had forgotten that the Palestinians’ families had indeed hidden evidence (including the weapon used in the deadly terrorist act) and aided the two murderers in covering up their tracks.
Further, we published two subsequent unsettling posts about Itamar; one about the hideous behavior of the killers’ family who, according to a Ynet report in October, mocked and taunted the surviving Fogel children on the day they came to the village for the olive harvest.
The other troubling report – cross posted by Giulio Meotti – focused on the Israeli court‘s sentencing of Hakim Awad to five life sentences for the murder of five members of the Fogel family.
“Ruth Fogel was in the bathroom when Awad killed her husband Udi and their three-month-old daughter Hadas, slitting their throats as they lay in bed. Awad slaughtered Ruth as she came out of the bathroom. Then he moved into a bedroom where Ruth and Udi’s sons Yoav (11) and Elad (4) were sleeping. He then slit their throats.”
Referring to Awad’s behaviour in court, Meotti added:
“In court, Awad always smiled at the camera…Awad said he has “no regrets” and flashed the “V” sign for victory while he was leaving the courthouse. “I am a person like you, I have no mental condition, I never had a serious illness,” Awad said to the judges. His smile was sincere.”
Further, a few months ago Palestinian Media Watch reported that the PA’s official television channel, on a program devoted to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails, the PA’s official television channel featured a telephone interview with the mother and aunt of one of the murderers of the Fogel family. The mother praised her son and said that he was one of the two who had carried out the “operation at Itamar.” Hakim Awad’s aunt called him a “hero and legend.” The program was broadcast twice (PMW, January 29, 2012).
However, in addition to the lack of remorse by the killer, the cruelty of his family towards young Tamar and the cover up by Awad’s relatives, the Ynet story cited above also included this, which suggests that killer’s families aren’t the only Palestinians who to have engaged in such reprehensible moral behavior after the massacre.
“At first, Awarta village chiefs denied any connection between their village and the Itamar massacre but at the same time, after their arrest, the two murderers became idols in their village, according to defense establishment sources, with support banners and their pictures hung up throughout Awarta.” [emphasis added]
In reading the Guardian’s coverage of the region, I’m often struck by the manner in which reports on Israel often lack any resemblance to the nation in which I live. Indeed, Harriet Sherwood’s reports should be seen as part of a broader mission to find evidence in support of her preconceived ideologically driven view of the region.
Political phenomena which fall outside the desired narrative are either downplayed or ignored. Similarly, Palestinians appear in the Guardian’s tales of the region largely as abstractions: poor, downtrodden, dispossessed, victims void of nuance or (often) any sense of moral agency.
All of this explains this fictitious headline accompanying a Sherwood report published shortly after the massacre:
Sherwood’s story didn’t even attempt to support (in the subsequent text) the assertion that Palestinians (living in Awarta and elsewhere) were morally outraged by the terrorist act – likely because little if any genuine outrage was actually expressed.
In fact, a poll conducted last May (2011) in the West Bank, Gaza and E. Jerusalem demonstrated that nearly one-third of Palestinians explicitly support the murder of the Fogels.
Clearly, even the most undeniable evidence that the killer’s family and their broader community continue to the laud the behavior of Amjad and Hakim Awad will never find its way to the pages of the Guardian.