Following the March 12, 2011 murder of the Fogel family in the Israeli settlement of Itamar, reactions by the PLO, and by a number of columnists in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, included harsh condemnation of the barbaric attack...and also an attempt to hold Israel ultimately responsible. Israel itself habitually murders children, they said, and added that it was Israel's policies that led to the attack, and that Israel was now exploiting the murders as political capital. It was also suggested that the attack could have been perpetrated by an Israeli settler.
Sawsan Al-Barghouti, a columnist for a website affiliated with Hamas, called the Itamar murders a "heroic act": "The heroic act in Nablus struck stunning blows, the first of which was against the supporters of coexistence [between the Palestinians] and the Jews on the holy and proud land of Palestine. Stability, security, freedom and independence cannot prevail as long as there are recruits [in Palestine], each and every one armed from head to toe and supported by their thieving and plundering government.
"The second blow was to 'Abbas and the Palestinian Authority: The resistance in the West Bank exists and is strong, despite the persecution, arrest, and assassination of the mujahideen [there]...
"This heroic deed, and ones like it, have successfully sabotaged the Arab initiative [i.e. the Saudi Arab peace initiative], which is not worth a single glance. Our heroes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank... will sabotage all plans against the legitimate 'violence,' and they will come out against the enemy, from under the ground, from across the borders, and from places so distant as to be unimaginable by the Mossad, the occupation forces, and their entire army of defeat and disappointment.
From this MEMRI report:
Editor of PA Daily: "Stabbing Children in Their Sleep Is Not a Heroic Deed but a Deed of a Heartless Person, Like Some Soldiers and Settlers of the Occupation who [Likewise] Murder Children"
The Editor of the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Hafez Al-Barghouti, wrote: "I do not believe that the incident in Itamar was an act of resistance, but rather an act [carried out] by individuals, and one which we denounce, if its perpetrator was [indeed] Palestinian. Stabbing children in their sleep is not a heroic deed but the deed of a heartless person, like some soldiers and settlers of the occupation who [likewise] murder children... The true murderers in Itamar are the extremist settlers and anyone who torched a tree, attacked the cemetery in 'Awarta, expelled the residents of Khirbat Yanoun, confiscated a plot of land, or plundered an olive harvest... The operation in Itamar was a message to the occupation and to the world... whose meaning is clear – the occupation must leave."