12 April 2011
HEBRON: Fallout from the murders in Itamar settlement.
by Inger Styrbjorn
[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the
International Court of Justice in The Hague, and numerous United Nations
resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under
Last month, on 11 March 2011, murderers infiltrated the settlement of Itamar
near Nablus in the Northern West Bank and stabbed Udi and Ruth Fogel, and their
children Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and 3-month-old Hadas in their sleep.
The Israeli government was quick to try to win political points from the attack
by transferring the funeral to Jerusalem for maximum attendance.
Settlers launched verbal and physical attacks on Palestinian
communities all over the West Bank.
In the Al-Bweireh neighborhood of Hebron, about 140 km away from Itamar,
settlers damaged cars and threw stones at houses. On 13 March, members of the International Solidarity
Movement stayed with a family in the neighborhood that was worried about
further retaliation. The next day,
settlers threatened the school children with guns and in the evening, once
again, settlers attacked the house.
In At-Tuwani, 160 km from Itamar settlers destroyed olive trees and
attacked villagers—stabbing one man—who were trying to replant them.
The Israeli military imposed the toughest possible
restrictions on Nablus and surrounding villages. The village of Awarta suffered the worst of the invasions. Israeli soldiers went from house to
house destroying everything they could.
Three members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), two Swedes and one
woman from Norway, were in the village when the military closed it. On 15 March, I talked to one of the
Swedish volunteers who told me they could not come out of the village yet. On the previous night, they believed the
Army would lift the restrictions, but settlers forced their way into the
village to harass villagers. The
army drove them away and stayed.
The Swedes said they could move freely in the village, which has about 5,000 inhabitants. They
documented the destruction in the houses and said the soldiers became more
careful in their rampage when they saw that there was an international
To date, no Palestinian has been found guilty of the atrocity in Itamar. After all the accusations and threats,
not least from the Israeli leadership, we expected to hear some form of apology
and corrections. Instead, the
government announced that it would build 500 new settlement houses as a
punishment for the offense. In
fact, one news source announced that a new settlement under construction on
Palestinian land, in memory of and in retaliation for the slain family.