Our minds beg to avoid contemplating the Fogel family massacre. Every bit of human fiber in our being rebels against the cold-blooded viciousness. What miasma spawned a terrorist capable of crouching over the sleeping Fogels – mother Ruth, father Udi, and their three young children, including three-month-old baby Hadas – and methodically knifing them to death?

Offering up the “occupation” as an excuse is a vacuous insult to common sense. The restrictions on Palestinians’ freedoms and their political limbo – resulting in large part from their own unwillingness to agree on realistic compromises – cannot “explain” or “legitimize” this horror.

Nor can the mere existence of Jewish families on land of biblical resonance that was previously controlled by Jordan and is now widely deemed to belong to Palestinians.

But Palestinian leaders would have you believe otherwise, and the Palestinian Authority’s reactions to the atrocity resonate hollow and false.

“We reject this violence and condemn it as we have repeatedly rejected it against our people,” the PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters just hours after the Fogels were slaughtered.

The implication was clear: The Itamar atrocity could and should be compared to attempts by the IDF to defend citizens from Kassam and Grad missiles launched by Hamas from Gaza – a territory made completely Judenrein by Israel in the summer of 2005 – or to IDF attempts to protect Israelis from suicide bombings or drive-by shootings emanating from Nablus, Jenin and Hebron.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s reaction was not much different, provoking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to criticize the PA’s “weak and mumbling” statements.

To restate the obvious, which was conveniently and not so innocently left unsaid by Fayyad and Abbas: The IDF never intentionally targets innocent civilians, not to mention infants. When non-combatants, including women and children, are inadvertently killed in IDF operations, this is widely perceived by the vast majority of Israelis as a tragic but unavoidable outcome of warfare that can often be explained by Palestinians’ purposeful and cynical use of civilians as human shields.

FAYYAD’S AND Abbas’s unsavory attempt to equate the unspeakable crime committed in Itamar to the IDF’s military actions is a mild symptom of a much more profound ailment afflicting the Palestinian people.

One of the most wretchedly disappointing spectacles of the past two decades has been the inability of popular Palestinian nationalisms of all kinds to rise above what journalist Christopher Hitchens has called “a thanatocratic hell.”

On Sunday, literally at the same time as thousands gathered in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul Cemetery to peacefully and tearfully accompany the Fogels to their final rest, Fatah’s youth movement, in a sick fest of death, celebrated the naming of a square in Al-Bireh, a town adjacent to Ramallah, after the “martyred” female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.

On March 11, 1978, Mughrabi, along with eight or nine Fatah terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades, led the Coastal Road massacre, an indiscriminate killing spree that left 38 innocent Israelis, including 13 children, dead. Mughrabi, a hero of thousands of Palestinians, had hoped to derail Israel’s peace talks with Egypt.

As Yossi Kuperwasser, director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, told the cabinet Sunday, the Mughrabi death cult is just one of many examples of Palestinian incitement against Israel. The Fogel massacre, said Kuperwasser, is “in a way, an expression of the way the PA presents an attitude of hatred and demonization towards Israelis in general and especially towards settlers.”


Der Sturmer-like caricatures of Jews feature in PA media; in December, Abbas awarded $2,000 to the family of a Palestinian would-be terrorist who was killed by soldiers when he ran toward them holding two pipe bombs screaming “Allahu Akbar;” an Egyptian singer calling for jihad against Israel has been aired repeatedly in recent months on official PA radio and TV; and just hours after the Itamar massacre, Abbas met with a young Palestinians taking part in a song competition that glorifies suicide bombers.

This incomplete list, which can be substantially supplemented by Palestinian Media Watch’s regular reports, brings us closer to understanding how Palestinian terrorists could bring themselves to perpetrate such a despicable act against the Fogel family.

Reflecting, as it does, the Palestinians’ insistent refusal to internalize the Jews’ fundamental right to sovereignty anywhere in this disputed land, it also represents the single biggest obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

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