Itamar murder scene
Itamar murder sceneIsrael news photo

Iran and Hamas praised the savage terrorist attack on Itamar Friday night, while Ha'aretz concentrates on  fearing  “right-wing extremist” Jews, Peace Now remains silent, and the European Union, as usual, calls for peace talks.

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency told Iranians that the attackers “managed to kill all the five Zionists who were in the house…. The Palestinian combatant has returned home safely after conducting his mission successfully."

“The operation was a natural response to the crimes of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people.”

Hamas stated, “According to the international law, Palestinian resistance factions have the full right to resist any kind of occupation on the land of Palestine, as well as the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people in West Bank and Gaza grant the Palestinian resistance factions to use all tools and means of resistance against the Israeli occupation forces and the armed Israeli settlers.”

The de facto Hamas government in Gaza went so far as to suggest that Israelis may have murdered the Fogel family.

Even before the burial of Rabbi Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their young children, the EU and at least one Labor Knesset Member called for a resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“There is no substitute for direct talks, said Home Front Minister Matan Vilnai, who followed Defense Minister Ehud Barak in quitting the Labor party and joining his new Independence party.

The EU and the United Nations also urged a renewal of direct talks, which Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused without advanced acceptance by Israel of all of his demands.

However, Israel charged that the PA has encouraged terrorist attacks by a constant policy of incitement, despite its commitment  to halt the incitement before the sides try to reach agreement on the final status of the proposed Palestinian Authority state.

Vilnai, besides calling for more efforts for talks, recently justified IDF training of soldiers to fire at Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. "Knives have been pulled out before, and not just once or twice, to be used on car tires. I am not sure it will not go further than tires,” he said in response to questions from nationalist MKs.

His leap in reasoning from “tires” to fears of something worse, meaning that the murders might give rise to Jewish revenge, was echoed by the Ha'aretz newspaper Sunday morning. Both seemed to forget that Palestinian terror is the issue,  not some feared or imagined possible revenge, but a constant reality that reached massacre level on Friday night. 

The newspaper, which determinedly campaigns for Israel’s surrendering to Palestinian Authority territorial demands, darkly warned that the slaughter by Arab terrorists might spark a response that "could deteriorate into terrorism by Jewish extremists."

The newspaper also contradicted statements by Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Yossi Kuperwasser and supported the PA claim, despite all evidence to the contrary,  that it is thwarting terror. “The PA security apparatus has recently undertaken many successful operations that have saved Israeli lives, including extricating Israelis who mistakenly ended up in the heart of Palestinian towns and the arrest of would-be terrorists seeking to kidnap and murder settlers,” Ha'aretz insisted.

Kuperwasser (pictured) pointed out to the media Saturday night that PA attempts to fight terror are “cosmetic” and are not part of an atmosphere of peace due to a PA policy of incitement that encourages terror.

Abbas, after a mild condemnation of violence in general, stated that “violence produces violence and what is needed is to speed up a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict.” Following calls from the United States, he issued a harsher and more unconditional condemnation of the stabbing attack.

J Street, the American lobby that supports talking with Hamas, “unequivocally” condemned the stabbing attack Friday, but Americans for Peace Now has not issued a statement. Unlike previous remarks after terrorist attacks, J Street did not couple its condemnations with a call to return to talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

The White House stated, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of five Israelis in a terrorist attack in the northern West Bank, and we offer our condolences to their loved ones and to the Israeli people. 

“There is no possible justification for the killing of parents and children in their home. We call on the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn this terrorist attack and for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be held accountable."