Tragedy In Itamar
Tue, 03/15/2011

As we join Israel in mourning the death of five family members killed in a vicious terror attack in Itamar last Shabbat, it is important not to read too much into the horrific event — or too little.

The pain all Israelis feel at this wanton act of violence is real, and is shared by countless Jews in this country and around the world. The photos released of the small children stabbed to death in their sleep were horrifying, and it is difficult to think of the perpetrator or perpetrators as human.

This is terrorism, pure and simple. Though at this writing we do not know the identity of the killers or their affiliations, it is hardly a stretch to connect these murders with a climate of incitement that has been perpetuated by the Palestinian Authority even as its officials proclaim their interest in peace.

Jewish groups are correct in their assertion that the PA leadership has been recklessly negligent in tamping down outrageous incitement that can only reduce the likelihood of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel — incitement like this week's dedication of a town square in Al-Bireh to the memory of a terrorist involved in killing 37 Israelis in a 1978 bus hijacking.

That said, it is important not to take this tragedy as demonstrative “proof” that the Palestinians overall are uninterested in peace. We disagree with those in Israel who argue that the Itamar tragedy demonstrates that peace is an impossibility and that ongoing peace efforts represent a risk Israel can no longer afford to take. If a single terror attack, however horrific, constitutes proof that peace efforts are doomed to fail, then the terrorists have won, and Israel is consigned to a future of endless strife and bloodshed.

We share Israel’s grief and understand the enormous pressures this latest atrocity places on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But what Israel needs now is cool, clear-headed decision making. Unfortunately, the Netanyahu government’s response to the Itamar tragedy — the announcement Israel will accelerate construction in West Bank settlement blocs — while emotionally satisfying, is more about politics than policy.

Though the decision confines the expanded building to areas expected to remain with Israel after any settlement with the Palestinians, it can only inflame tensions in the region, increase Israel's international isolation and complicate U.S.-led efforts to find new paths toward a negotiated settlement.

Incitement is real, and must be addressed forcefully by the PA if it hopes to achieve statehood. But its failure to do so does not absolve Israel’s leaders of the need to make smart, farsighted and courageous decisions in the face of the kind of horror we witnessed at Itamar, and not succumb to the arguments of those who view any realistic peace agreement as surrender.

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As the editors of a newspaper should know, particularly a Jewish-oriented newspaper, the murders at Itamar were not a single isolated incident, but one of hundreds, if not thousands, or terror attacks against Jews over the decades of the Oslo delusion, and a continuation of a history of killing Jews going back to 1921.

Furthermore as the editors of the Jewish Week should know, official Palestinian Authority organs continue to conduct a pervasive, long-term and systematic effort to delegitimize the existence of Israel.

Unfortunately this editorial is not only baseless, it is dangerous. It tells the Arabs very clearly that as long as there is some leader who will tell a delegation of visiting Jews that he is interested in peace, the Arabs can continue to attack and kill Jews with total impunity.

I see that I am in agreement with the sentiments expressed by the posts preceding mine. I'm shocked by the choice of the wording of the headline, 'TRAGEDY in Itamar'. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan was a 'tragedy'. Hurricane Katrina was a 'tragedy'. The recent earthquake in New Zealand was a 'tragedy'. The savage, bloodthirsty murders of a Jewish family in Itamar was NOT a tragedy. It was a sick, religious/politically motivated act of terror. Candy was distributed in the Palestinian areas to celebrate. Why is 'The Jewish Week' downplaying this enormous evil? Do you not believe in justice? If you are suggesting that Israel 'turn the other cheek', then you may consider writing for 'The Christian Weekly'.

Fooled me once - Shame on you
Fooled me twice - Shame on me
Fooled me many times - The Jewish Week

No, this isn't a matter of a "single" terror attack. There have been way too many terror attacks where children, infants even, have been slaughtered for no reason other than taht there were Jews. Most, even 90% of the time, the terrorist deliberately shot, exploded himself, or even crushed the head of the child with a rock in his bare hands, so as to kill another young Jew.

I suppose you are too far from reality to know how irrelevant you are to what is going on in Israel.

To kill one jew is enough action to halt any peace procces. To kill a family, to murder children, to stab a baby to me, is enough to call war!

The article above communicates the lack of historic experience and human empathy that makes me fear that a holocaust could happen again. I wonder if perhaps the event was closer to your personal life you would see things differently...

Regardless of your view I STAND WITH MY BROTHERS & SISTERS..

AM ISRAEL CHAI!!

The self-deluding arrogance of this editorial is breath- taking. Read and re-read the paragraph starting "That said'".To assert that this is "a single terror attack...however horrific" and that it does not showany light on the real intentions of Palestinian Arabs is truly burying one's head in sand....For over sixty years, Israel and its citizens have been relentlessly attacked and killed in hundreds of terrorist attacks and, adding insult to injury, those murderers are hailed as heros....and you cannot see that they have no interest in peace? Live in Israel for a while and understand what is happening before you write such drivel

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