Itamar residents were shocked to see local Arabs, some from the Awwad family that brutally murdered five members of the Fogel family, entering the confines of the community's security zone barely half a year after the Friday night massacre.
The PA village of Awarta's residents were allowed in by the Israeli Civil Administration in order to harvest olives, but the Shomron (Samaria) Residents Committee reports that the "harvesters" threw rocks at Itamar residents, yelling “We will turn you into Fogel’s”, while drawing fingers across their throats to emphasize the threat.
Last year, Hakim Awwad, one of the murderers, used the harvest as a means of gathering intelligence about the town's homes and residents.
Itamar residents are protesting furiously and young Tamar Fogel, now the oldest surviving member of her family, has joined them.
Benny Katsover, head of the Shomron Residents’ Committee, had harsh words for the civil administration decision: "There is no limit to the insensitivity and irresponsibility of the Civil Administration. We thought that even the blatant one-sidedness of the Civil Administration has limits, but once again it has given in to radical left views, at the risk of endangering Jewish lives."
Brigadier-General (res.) Rabbi Avichai Ronsky, head of the Itamar Hesder Yeshiva, former IDF Chief Rabbi and once head of the IDF Shomron Brigade, reacted sharply: “Half a year after the murder, with the blood still bubbling and the community still tending its bleeding wounds, allowing residents of Awarta, the home of the murderers of the Fogel and Shabo families, into our community – is an irresponsible travesty!"
Gershon Mesika, Head of the Shomron Regional Council contacted the commanding ranks of the IDF and Knesset Members in order to stop the murderous clan's harvest: "It is an outrage that cries out to Heaven. A year ago, exactly, I warned the army Civil Administration that terrorists can use the olive harvest as an opportunity to collect intelligence before attacking. In spite of all my warnings, hundreds of Arabs from the village Awarta were allowed into Itamar to harvest the olives and we all know the tragic results. I would expect that this year there would be some logic employed."
A PA Arab has been lightly injured after being hit by a rock. He was treated by an IDF soldier at the scene. The circumstances surrounding the attack are not yet clear, sources said.
Last March, Tamar Fogel of Itamar, 12 years old at the time, arrived home at midnight after a Sabbath youth activity to discover that both her parents, her 3-month-old baby sister and two brothers, ages 11 and 4, had been stabbed to death and had their throats slashed. Court documents showed that one of the two Arab terrorists held down the children for slaughter, and shot the mother after the other terrorist stabbed her.
The two cousins, Amjad Awad, 19 and Hakim Awad, 18 (17 at the time of the murder), were residents of the neighboring PA Arab village of Awarta. Both expressed pride and no remorse for the crime during the trial. They were sentenced to five consecutive life sentences plus five years in prison, a total of 130 years behind bars.
The Israeli government has pointed out repeatedly that murders like the Fogel massacre in Itamar, while not known to have been directed by a specific terrorist organization, are incited by the Palestinian Authority's constant, incessant stream of media invective.