Residents of the Shomron community of Itamar are outraged after finding out that the Civil Administration plans to allow residents of the nearby Arab village of Awarta to enter Itamar on Sunday, in order to plow under the olive trees located there which they claim are on their land.
The Civil Administration’s move could not come at a worse time, as it will come just a few days after the residents of Itamar will be marking a year since the brutal murder of five members of the Fogel family by Arab terrorists.
Rabbi Ehud (Udi) Fogel, his wife Ruth, 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad, and three-month-old Hadas were stabbed to death by terrorists who entered their home on a Friday night and mercilessly killed them.
The two murderers, cousins Amjad and Hakim Awad, are both from the same village of Awarta. Neither expressed remorse for their actions, in fact they said that had they known there were more children in the house, they would have killed them as well. Both killers have been sentenced to five consecutive life sentences.
The community of Itamar, outraged over the decision to allow Awarta Arabs to enter Itamar, has sent a letter to the Civil Administration in which it wrote, “We are expressing deep shock that exactly one year after the murder, the lesson has not been learned and the Civil Administration allows residents of Awarta to plan the next attack.
“The killers of the Fogel family, from the Awad clan (which constitutes half of the villagers), took part in the olive harvest in previous years and used that to easily infiltrate the community and carry out the murder,” wrote the residents, who added that Awarta “was for many years used as a base for killers to enter the community of Itamar.”
“The citizens of Israel have been exposed to the warm embrace given by the residents of Awarta to the murderers,” the residents wrote. “The Israeli media was shocked by the publication of an interview with a family member of one of the murderers of the Fogels, who praised the murder and the murderers. Only six months ago, Awarta residents who were allowed entry into Itamar told us of their real goal by drawing fingers across their throat and saying, ‘We will turn you into Fogels.’
"Unfortunately, nothing was done to prevent the next attack in Itamar,” the residents wrote. “Not only was the death penalty not imposed on the murderers, the Civil Administration now wants to give a reward to their families and their village. We call on the army and the Israeli government not to give into the leftist organizations and to Arab terrorism and not to abandon our lives! Do not let the murderers of Awarta into our community!! We declare that we will defend Itamar with our bodies and trust that the army will not allow our security to be harmed.”
The Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria (COGAT) responded to the letter formally on Tuesday, saying, “The residents of the community can contact the Civil Administration and communicate their demands, but the issue of the plowing (which is not large scale as is the harvest) has been coordinated with the community’s security officer, who could have expressed these views, had he wished.
“I would ask to be precise and note that next week is not the anniversary of the abominable murder, but rather this week,” continued the statement. “It should be clear to you that this sensitive subject was treated with the utmost care and sensitivity in order not to be carried out at the time of the anniversary of the murder.”
The IDF spokesman said in response, “Plowing of Palestinian land is taking place these days throughout the region. Since there are, within the community of Itamar, agricultural lands privately owned by Palestinians, the IDF and the Civil Administration coordinate the plowing with the security officer and his community. Security forces are in place to allow the plowing and to provide security to the residents of Itamar.”