Updated March 16, 2011
In response to the Palestinian terrorist attack in Itamar, in which five members of one family were murdered, a number of Israeli and international NGOs released statements condemning the attack. These include B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Human Rights Watch (HRW) (excerpts below).
In contrast, a number of prominent NGOs such as Amnesty International and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) have not issued condemnations of the attacks. Notably, Al Haq – whose director Shawan Jabarin is a member of HRW’s Mid-East Advisory Board and a suspected activist in the PFLP terror organization, and has been hailed by HRW as “one of the leading Palestinian voices condemning …suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians by Palestinian armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza” – also has not condemned the terror attack.
- B’Tselem: “B’Tselem strongly condemns the stabbing attack yesterday (11 March) at the settlement of Itamar, in the Northern West Bank, in which five Israeli civilians were killed…Some persons speaking on behalf of Palestinians argue that, inasmuch as the settlements are illegal and many settlers belong to Israel’s security forces, it is permissible to attack settlers. This argument is groundless: the illegality of the settlements does not affect the civilian status of their residents in the slightest.”
- PHR-I: “Physicians for Human Rights – Israel strongly condemns the appalling attack in Itamar and calls the state of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to act in order to bring those responsible individuals to trial. Once again we learn that fences and security systems are not a guarantee for security. Only brave steps towards peace agreement and putting end to the conflict will bring end to these murderous acts.”
- PCATI: “The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel adamantly condemns the vicious murder of the Fogel family in Itamar. Murderous violence and bloodshed are not the solution and in no way can be justified. Murder and human rights violations will never lead to a solution of the conflict, and will only bring more violence upon us and our children.” (translation by NGO Monitor)
- ACRI: “ACRI expresses its shock regarding the stabbing terror attack that took place last Friday in the settlement Itamar, in which parents and their three little children were brutally killed in their sleep. The murder of the Fogel family is an atrocious act by any standard – moral and legal. Intentional killing of civilians is a grave breach of international law and a war crime, that its perpetrators should be found and persecuted.” (translation by NGO Monitor)
- DCI-PS: “On the night of Friday, 11 March 2011, five members of the same family, including three children, were killed in their home in the settlement of Itamar, located in the West Bank, close to the city of Nablus. DCI-Palestine condemns these killings and the killing of any child, whoever the perpetrator may be. Nothing can justify the killing of children, regardless of the circumstances.”
- Rabbis for Human Rights: “Rabbis for Human Rights strongly condemns the terrible murders in Itamar. They were of course a violation of the most basic human right, the right to life. We send our condolences to the family. We also demanded from the defence office that they fulfil their obligation to protect Palestinians, even though many soldiers also harbor desire for revenge and others will simply not be motivated to do their job.” The group’s Hebrew website contains a one sentence condemnation followed by four paragraphs detailing the need to defend Palestinians from “settler attacks.”
- HRW’s statement was not unequivocal and, in the context of the murders, presented a moral equivalence between “unlawful settler attacks on Palestinian civilians” and “attacks on Israeli civilians”: “Those responsible for the brutal stabbing to death of five family members living in the Israeli settlement of Itamar, near Nablus in the West Bank, should be held fully accountable, Human Rights Watch said today… Human Rights Watch has also documented attacks by settlers from Itamar and other nearby settlements against residents and property of Palestinian communities in the Nablus area…”
- Amnesty International’s response, ambiguously titled “Spike in West Bank violence condemned,” is immoral, drawing equivalence between the murders and a supposed “continuing wave of reprisal attacks by West Bank settlers against Palestinians.” The image accompanying the press release is of armed Israelis, and half the statement is devoted to condemnations of the Israeli government and the Israeli army: “‘We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial’…‘The Israeli security forces must act to prevent reprisals against Palestinian civilians by armed Israeli settlers and bring those responsible to justice….the deplorable killing of the Fogel family must not be used as a pretext for acts by Israeli authorities that lead to further human rights violations.’”