The Israeli press is ablaze this morning with the news that the killers of the Fogel family in the illegal colony of Itamar in the occupied West Bank have been found. After several weeks of besieging the village of Awarta, arresting virtually all of its inhabitants, and causing extensive property damage, the Israeli authorities have announced that two teenagers from the village have admitted to carrying out the killings.
This particular case has been quite interesting, because of the fact that all Palestinian factions publicly distanced themselves from it and denied responsibility for carrying it out. Despite the Israeli government immediately blaming it on Palestinian ‘terror’ without any proof and using the death of the Fogels as an excuse to further expand the illegal colonization of the West Bank, a gag order was placed on the investigation as rumors and theories grew about who the actual culprit may have been.
Itamar is a heavily fortified settlement overlooking the surrounding Palestinian villages on whose land it is illegally built. The colony is notoriously well fortified to ensure intruders do not enter; it is completely surrounded by 8 foot high electrified wire fence with 2 feet of razor wire on top, sensors to determine if the fence has been cut, automatic cameras that cover the entire perimeter, 24 hour security guard presence and protection provided by the Israeli military. All of its inhabitants are heavily armed, and like almost all Israeli settlements it is surrounded by hundreds of meters of empty buffer land that Palestinians cannot step foot in.
The fact that Itamar probably has more security than the White House led many to conclude that whoever killed the Fogels could not have simply snuck in and snuck back out again.
But now the Israeli security authorities, that bastion of transparency and human rights, say they’ve extracted confessions from Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad, 18, both from Awarta. According to Haaretz, the teens decided on a whim to go to Itamar armed with nothing but wire cutters and a prayer. They walked across the buffer zone without being noticed by the cameras, security guards, soldiers or residents of the colony. They reached the electrified fence, where they spent ten minutes cutting the wire. The automatic cameras and sensors seemed, by a stroke of anti-semitic fortune, to be asleep that day.
Once they’d cut the fence, the two teenagers walked into the colony, where again nobody noticed them. They found a house which by sheer luck was 1) unlocked, 2) empty and 3) had an M16 rifle and ammunition lying about. Amjad and Hakim picked up the gun and the bullets, and stepped out of the empty house. There, they moved to the Fogels’ residence. They walked in, and killed four family members-one with the gun, the others with a knife.
Having defied all odds, the teenagers now left the house and went back outside. They still hadn’t been noticed. Neither the gun shot nor the screams had been heard (the security services here explain that the weather wasn’t conducive to carrying sound waves that evening). While realizing they STILL hadn’t been noticed by any of the residents, soldiers, security guards or cameras, Amjad and Hakim spotted the Fogels’ 3 month old baby through the window. So they decided to go back inside and kill the baby.
Insatiable Arab thirst for blood and all that.
Now the teens, armed with a big stolen M16 rifle, ammunition, and a knife simply walked back out of the colony, again unnoticed by the cameras, soldiers, guards, colonists, sensors and maybe even God himself. They walked across the buffer zone, back to their village, and thought they had gotten away with their dastardly crime. Of course, they had forgotten to factor in the tireless efforts of the Israeli army and intelligence apparatus, who laid siege to their village for days, barring the entry of food and medicine, rounding up villagers en masse, savagely beating others and destroying extensive property in Awarta.
The story presented by the Israeli security forces has more holes in it than a hunk of Swiss cheese treated with birdshot. As Ali Abunimah points out, they can’t even get their claim right about whether or not Amjad and Hakim acted alone or on behalf of the PFLP. And Israel’s penchant for using torture and threats to coerce confessions doesn’t really do much for its credibility here. If 6 year old girls are beaten and 60 year old women are violently detained in Awarta, your brain doesn’t have to go far to guess what the Shin Bet did to extract confessions from the young men.
And before the seething masses of indignant Zionists could finish wringing their hands, out comes the family of Hakim Awad with the inconvenient revelation that their son had recently undergone testicular surgery that made it impossible for him to walk long distances and needing the toilet every hour, and was at home recovering the night the Fogels were killed. Oops.
Zionism really is losing its lustre: They decided to frame a guy who can barely walk for trekking across a buffer zone, through an electrified fence, breaking into two houses, killing an entire family then jogging merrily home.