One day after a judge delivered a guilty verdict to the second of the two murderers of the Fogel family in Itamar, Israeli authorities arrived in the middle of the night to destroy a new neighborhood in the same community.
The budding hilltop outpost of Gal Aryeh, established in memory of the Fogels, was the target.
Three permanent homes, a synagogue and two other structures were destroyed by police bulldozers and Civil Administration workers.
During the destruction, the control panel, electrical system and computer of the special security surveillance system installed by the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council following the murders was also destroyed.
The system had been purchased with funds provided by property taxes collected by the residents and contributed by private donors.
Israel's Defense Ministry provided no funds to assist with the purchase of the system for the community's defense.
Two families and five singles were left homeless in the nighttime raid.
They were comforted by members of the Itamar community, and Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika, however, who arrived early Thursday morning following the destruction. Mesika reassured the homeless residents that their homes would quickly be rebuilt.
In a statement, the Council said that the Civil Administration used Arab workers to undertake the destruction of the community, adding insult to injury. Witnesses said that the Arab workers industriously demolished everything in sight, including the Ark of the Torah (Aron Kodesh) in the community's synagogue, and desecrated holy objects. The Council said that the Arab workers cursed Jews protesting the demolition, and “were seen to have wide smiles on their faces” while carrying out the destruction. The Arab workers even raided refrigerators of residents whose homes they demolished, taking with them food and household products.
Three Torah scrolls, worth in excess of $100,000, were confiscated by Civil Administration officials.
Speaking at the site Thursday morning, Mesika slammed the government for the demolition. “There is no limit to their insensitivity,” he said. “One day after the perpetrator of the horrendous murder in Itamar was convicted, they come and demolish a neighborhood in the same town that still has not gotten over the shock of the murders, [a neighborhood] that was built in memory of the Fogel family. This is not the work of a radical leftists like Dov Hanin of the Communist Party, but of [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu, who was elected because of people in the national camp, like those whose houses were destroyed, after he promised mass building in Judea and Samaria.
“We refuse to accept this kind of political chicanery,” Mesika continued. “I put the entire blame for this on Netanyahu,” he said, adding that the neighborhood would be rebuilt soon.
Among the things destroyed in the raid was a surveillance system, set up as a a joint venture between One Israel Fund and the Shomron Regional Council Security Department, said Mark Prowsor, Director of Security Projects for the One Israel Fund. “It was agreed upon by all involved in the task of defending Jewish lives that this equipment was a necessity in the continued challenge of preventing further infiltrations into Itamar, and that this area was the best possible place to set this up to provide maximum protection in the effort to save lives,” he said, and it was unfortunate that the government had decided to “play politics” with a serious security issue.
“The wanton destruction of this 'hilltop' was obvious in its political motivations, but the damaging of a security system that provides necessary surveillance and information that protects the families of Itamar and its environs proves once again that that the Civil Administration does not value the security of protection of our Jewish brethren throughout Judea and Samaria,” Prowsor said.
“As the former security Chief of the Shilo region from 1996-2006, I was witness to this over and over again, watching how the task of protecting lives was decided upon by the whim of political lackeys, or even the politics of the local commanders, based in the Civil Administration, and at times, I am sorry to say the politics of the regional IDF commanders who at times did not know how to separate themselves from their professional duties and their personal political affiliations," he added.
“This early morning destruction of this section of Itamar has simply been another prize given to terrorism by an arm of the IDF Civil Administration.”