- On the evening of March 11, 2011, five members of the Fogel family were stabbed to death: Udi, 36, Ruth, 35, and their children Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, 3 months. On April 5 and 10, Israeli security services arrested two suspects from the Palestinian village of Awarta, as well as several accomplices.
- During the investigation, several political NGOs, some of which are funded by European governments, organized a “solidarity visit,” including busses to bring activists to Awarta in support of the residents who had been interrogated.
- The NGOs also condemned the Israeli investigation, using the term “collective punishment,” and claimed that there was no basis for suspecting residents (see quotes below).
- A number of the NGOs involved are funded by European governments and the New Israel Fund (NIF). For example, the hosts of the “solidarity visit” were: Coalition of Women for Peace (funded by NIF, Switzerland, and government-funded groups from Netherlands and Germany), Combatants for Peace (Spain), Gush Shalom (funding unknown), and Humans without Borders (funding unknown). A photographer was sent by Rabbis for Human Rights (funded by NIF, EU, Ireland via Trocaire, Spain, Norway via Norwegian Church Aid).
- Machsom Watch (NIF, EU, Diakonia, Norway, UK) activists, including spokesperson Raya Yaron, visited Awarta to comfort the relatives of those who were arrested. Pictures from the trip show Yaron hugging the mother of one of the alleged murderers.
- A “solidarity visit” participant described the arrest of one of the murderers as a “pogrom, primate and brutal vengeance intended solely to impose fear in the heart of the residents.” (See below for the analysis of Israeli journalist Kalman Liebeskind.)
- The NGOs have not apologized or retracted their statements following the arrests.
Related NGO Statements, Activities and funding information
- “There is no evidence that it’s a Palestinian, let alone a Palestinian from that village… This is like the barbaric invasions…. To one extent these measures are punitive because there is no security rationale to treat an investigation in this way” [emphasis added]. (Valentina Azarov, lawyer from Al Haq, quoted in “Village remains under seige weeks after settlement murders,” Electronic Intifada, April 8, 2011)
Addameer (does not list funders)
- “These arrests have taken place despite the fact that no evidence has been brought forth to indicate that the murders are related to Awarta, suggesting a campaign of collective punishment against the village…” [emphasis added]. (“Rights group calls for monitoring of mass Awarta arrests,” April 11, 2011)
- “But while the attack on Israeli innocents – albeit members of a fanatical settler movement residing illegally on Palestinian land – has saturated local and international media outlets there is a lot more to the story of Awarta and the suffering and brutality its inhabitants have endured at the hands of the settlers and Israeli soldiers“[emphasis added]. (“Palestinian village under siege following settler killings,” Mel Frykberg, March 16, 2011)
- “Under the guise of an investigation, Israel applied this severe punishment to the entire village though the identity of the perpetrator of the attack is unknown… The use of such [collective punishment] tactics suggests an intention other than the pursuit of justice for the Fogel family” [emphasis added]. (“Village remains under seige weeks after settlement murders,” Charlotte Silver, April 8, 2011)
International Solidarity movement (ISM) (does not list funders)
- “Since the killings in the nearby illegal settlement of Itamar on 11 March, the army has entered the village of Awarta every night and has subjected the villagers to military curfews, one of which lasted five days… This collective punishment continues despite the fact that no evidence has been published which confirms that the killer is a Palestinian” [emphasis added]. (“More citizens of Awarta arrested in night raid,” March 29, 2011)
- “The village suffered harsh collective punishment at the hands of the military and frequent settler attacks” [emphasis added]. (“Perpetual Collective Punishment in West Bank Town of Awarta,” Tania Kepler, March 20, 2011)