Secret Arrests in Itamar Murder Case, IDF Pogroms in Awarta Continue
Yesterday, I reported that Israel had secretly arrested three Palestinian suspects in the murder of the Fogel family in Itamar. The arrests were under a blanket gag designed to deny access to Israelis (or Palestinians) of the news. The gag was issued by military judge, Maj. Yariv Navon of the Samaria district. It justifies issuance of the ban by claiming:
Identification of the detainees and information about their interrogation is likely to damage the investigation and security in the area.
Palestinians clearly have access to this information as you’ll note below. So the only ones denied access to it are Israelis. It isn’t clear to me how Israelis might damage this investigation unless the IDF is worried that settler vigilantes might take matters into their own hands. But it seems to me that the IDF is currently behaving little better than such vigilantes would. Another clear example of the often nonsensical basis of Israeli gag orders and censorship.
Today, AFP and Maan have further reported on this story and the three detainees mentioned below are likely the ones referred to by my source in yesterday’s post:
The latest arrests included several members of the Awad family, including three who were detained in the town of Beitunia, on the outskirts of the city of Ramallah.
On Monday, village officials said three other members of the Awad family had been detained, including a 15-year-old girl and her mother.
It is common practice in such situations for Shabak to arrest female family members to exert pressure on the suspects to be more pliant.
Maan reports in greater detail on the living hell experienced by this particular family:
Rights group Addameer said that one group of soldiers held the family of Jibril Awad captive in their home until 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
A statement from the organization said soldiers rounded 20 members of the family into a single room of the home, and during an apparent search destroyed internal walls of the home, broke furniture and uprooted trees around the house to set up clear lines of view. Those kept in the room for hours included 10 children and a pregnant woman, the group said, citing one family member Nauf Awad, who said he was also being detained. He said an ambulance was permitted to evacuate a sick woman and the pregnant woman from the home.
As of noon, however, soldiers remained in the home, with 18 members of the family remaining inside.
…Rights workers told Ma’an that heavily-armed Israeli forces surrounded [a] Ramallah-area building at 3 a.m. and forced all residents to evacuate their apartments and wait outdoors as inspections and questioning took place.
Soldiers…detained 40-year-old Nu’man Salim Awwad, his brother 29-year-old Noah, and 19-year-old Yazid Hasan Awwad all from Awarta. They were all taken to the nearby Israeli Ofer detention center.
According to locals, Noah is a physician and moved to live in Ramallah to monitor his brother Nu’man who suffers from kidney failure.
Noah’s sister said Nu’man, 42, had been placed under house arrest by Palestinian security services several months earlier, and noted that Yazid had been released from Israeli prison the month before, after serving six years.
The AFP article expands on the pogrom-like behavior inflicted on Awarta by the IDF. According to the mayor:
“There isn’t a house in the village that hasn’t been subjected to breaking and smashing of things, from washing machines and fridges to satellite dishes and sinks,” he said.
“Electricity was cut off, they confiscated thousands of dunums [hundreds of hectares, acres] of village land,” he said, adding that water had also been sporadically cut off along with power…
This is how one mother described the treatment accorded to her sons:
“They brutally beat my sons; Majdi, who is 21, Amhad, who is 19, and 17-year-old Hakam. They beat them for no reason, they handcuffed my husband and broke everything inside the house; windows, the refrigerator, the washing machine and kitchen appliances. The spilled oil, sugar, salt and flour all together on the floor.”
Maan reports that 71 village residents, including two elderly women and a teenage girl remain in detention without charge and without access to counsel or visitors. Such treatment is a clear violation of the Geneva convention against collective punishment. Israel will eventually solve the Itamar murders, but in the process it will create ten times the former animosity in this village to its oppressive rule. No crime, no matter how heinous merits wholesale violations of internationally accepted human rights provisions.
19 thoughts on “Secret Arrests in Itamar Murder Case, IDF Pogroms in Awarta Continue – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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So many details about this crime are obscure. There is something going on – with the gag order, etc. – which does not relate to any of the evidence we yet have.
A crime like this ought to be easy to solve.
The Israelis came up with the allegation of a Palestinian terror raid. The Palestinians came up with the allegation of an Asian employee going on a rampage. Either is possible, but evidence is literally nil.
Certainly, instead of persecuting this village, the investigation should also focus on the settlement itself. This easily could be a replay of the Ushenko family murder – (and not everyone is satisfied with the guilt of the suspect in that case.)
But I have another suggestion. Shocking, yes, but hear me out.
This could be a murder suicide.
I point to the following factors:
– the house was locked on the inside.
– two children were unharmed. It is said that they were ‘overlooked’ by the assailants. That is unlikely. But in a murder suicide, the perp will sometimes spare some family members whom they do not blame.
– according to one of the witnesses that was first on the scene, Sgt. Edi Itelman says: ‘we found the mother [Ruth] dead, lying on floor in pool of blood with multiple stab wounds. On a bed in same room, laying dead with single stab wound in the neck, was the father [Udi]. The three-month old baby [Hadas] was underneath the father.’
– look at that sequence. The mother has fought back – but the father not. A single cut to the throat can be self-inflicted. He must have been aware of the violence because the infant died before him, it was found under his body. Why has he not engaged with the killers?
– one of the daughters, only 12 years old, returned to the house that night and the killings were discovered. She returned at half past midnight. That is very late for so young a girl on her own, in a conservative community. But children will often stay out late, even alone, roaming around, if there are tensions and domestic violence at home.
I apologise for floating this theory, if it is wrong. But in such a crime, one is entitled to look at all the evidence. The killer could have been right there in the house – with the victims. This type of crime is very common.
Therese, I don’t like your theory on suicide too much ….
But I do agree that an inside job is possible, i.e. someone from within the settlement. In newspapers, we can read that “According to a first probe, two perpetrators …entered Itamar shortly after 9 p.m., jumping over the settlement’s security fence”.
Well, I don’t know. I’ve done a lot of athletics when I was a teenager, including highjump, but not ever Xavier Sotomayor could jump that fence.
There’s an interesting video at ‘mondoweiss’ – a publicity for settling down in Itamar,
There’s an interesting comment too, with a photo of the fence and a descritption of how it’s electrified, with razor blades on top etc:
I don’t know about “inside job” & what you mean. But I suppose it might’ve been possible for Palestinian workers to have hidden themselves inside the settlement & then come out to commit the crime.
If you’re suggesting that fellow settlers committed the crime that too is so far-fetched as not to seem credible.
I’m not at all speculating on the ethnic origin of the assassins, only on the difficulties of entering this particular settlement that was very well protected.
If you look at the video – a publicity for Itamar – that I posted (from minute 7:50), the electric security fence and the video camera system are thouroughly described. As soon as the electric fence is touched, cameras automatically zoom unto that area: that with the height of the fence, the razor blades on top etc makes it hard for me to believe that someone actually ‘jumped the fence’ or ‘made a hole’ as we’ve heard too.
Security at Itamar screwed up massively. There actually had been an alarm & a security guard had examined the portion of the fence which generated the alert. He found nothing & did not raize an alarm. Israel prefers to blame others while not acknowledging its own security failures.
Yes, something screwed up. Here’s an interview with the Mayor of Itamar, saying that there were ‘blind spots’ on the camera systems, and that the killers jumped the fence exactly at a place in the fence where the cameras didn’t reach. How lucky that they knew exactly where the ‘blind spot’ in the camera system was, and that there was any blind spots at all.
According to the Mayor, such an attack needed months of intelligence gathering, the killers were highly organized, and still they took something (I don’t get the item) back to Awarta where it was found by the police, who just followed the muddy tracks back to Awarta. What a mixture of amateurism and professionalism.
from minute 2:30
Sorry, blaming the victim even if you’re merely suggesting this as a theory is just plain dumb & offensive. There have been far too many of these terror attacks on settlements to believe this is anything but another one.
Common enough in many Western countries for you to have no need to apologize.
In the Avon case, the man was the father of the two children, and he’d told their mother that she had ten seconds to say goodbye to them, before driving in a circle near her home to gather speed and into the river.
Since convicted and jailed for one count of murder and one of attempted murder.
Something like this tends to happen in the UK three or four times a year, although it’s more often in the family car than the family home.
So, for it to happen once or twice in the history of Israel is not at all unlikely. Especially if the father’s expectations of his own success were unrealistic or unrealizable.
An interesting theory and, as such, a possibility not to be discounted. How uncertain is this life that so many variables can be found in all the many forms of death.
But, as to the incidents depicted in Richard’s post and harrowing though these must be for the inhabitants of Beitunia, the matter still remains a symptom of the situation and not its origin.
Unless the main cause of this endless impasse is sufficiently addressed, we will not have seen the last of such crimes nor can any improvement in the overall position ever be expected to take place.
As long as we remain unwilling to face the prime mover in this conflict, no force on earth will alter the course upon which it seems so resolutely set. That prime mover is the baser part of our human nature, the primitive aspect of ourselves which would deny our better instincts, always seeking to have its own more immediate needs prevail and these to the exclusion of all others. We are, at each and every turn, the union of both Cain and Abel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde and that twin evolution has come to dominate and determine many of the fateful decisions we feel constrained to make.
If any worthwhile accommodation in this struggle is to be achieved, each of these two components in this, our fundamental conditioning, must be considered; we are not able to separate one from the other and so whatever method we propose must satisfy both elements here. To ignore these dimensions within ourselves is to fail in acknowledging what we are and what we can become.
And what we can become is so much more than we are now, more than even our limitless imagination may be able to conceive. A terrible shame, therefore, if we let the opportunity pass without some attempt to grasp that very real possibility.
“Israel will eventually solve the Itamar murders, but in the process it will create ten times the former animosity in this village to its oppressive rule.”
I think that Israel no longer knows why they do this kind of thing on a regular basis — unless, of course, the “logic” is that they won’t be able to complain about growing antisemitism unless they themselves continue to provoke it.
In the days before there were laws against wife-battering, some men beat their wives for no other reason than they could. No one could stop them. I think it has come to this in Israel-Palestine: Israel commits gratuitous violence because it can. There is no one to stop them; those who could stop them don’t want to.
All over the United States such murder/suicides happen every day. In Palestine, however, there is always an immediate rush to judgment in condemning Palestinians when a murder victim is Jewish. If this family was murdered by Palestinians they should be held accountable. I just wish I trusted the IDF and police to make a thorough investigation; I don’t. When settlers murdered a villager they were quickly released because there “wasn’t enough evidence” to charge them, but in this case we all know there will be enough evidence, even if it has to be manufactured or obtained through torture. If I were subjected to torture I can’t be certain I wouldn’t accuse my own mother (may she rest in peace.) I trust the IDF so little that I suspect if they knew for certain the killers were other than Palestinian, they would likely blame and punish Palestinians.
There does seem to be more of a witch-hunt (or wild goose chase) than a forensic investigation.
If it’s true that doors were locked and one of the deceased had a different pattern of wounds, then a proper investigation would recognize the obvious possibilities and do further work, regardless of political or religious sensibilities about suicide etc. Because it does happen, and it this case it MIGHT have done. There’s a great deal of very relevant expertise still available at the forensic science service in Huntingdon, although not indefinitely because one of David Cameron’s strokes of genius is to close this establishment in a few months and discard the accumulated expertise.
Perhaps the Israeli authorities should ask for help while it’s still there to be had!
I totally agree with you. May the perps, whoever they maybe, be brought to justice in all cases, and in addition, not just for the Jewish victims. Everyone has the right for their life not to be taken by another human being.
“Israel will eventually solve the Itamar murders, but in the process it will create ten times the former animosity in this village to its oppressive rulee forensic team had even arrived.” Far more importantly, these murders and the “investigation” have been followed all over the world. The way the Israelis have handled this has seriously damaged Israel’s credibility among its allies. The immediacy of the information has not allowed Israel to put its spin on the stories before questions are being asked about the way the IDF has treated “the usual suspects.” Coupled with Israel’s insistence that the democracy movement in North Africa threatens Israeli security, people in the West are seeing aspects of the Likud agenda that just building settlements had not made evident before.
How many people died in the IDF’s “Pogroms”. Is there another example in history of a Pogrom in which nobody died? (NO). If so, is there another reason for the (inaccurate) use of the word other than creating strife and spreading hate?
If this is your idea of “Tikun Olam”, I wonder who you are “working” for.
How many people died in the IDF pogroms in Lebanon in 2006 & Gaza in 2009? Over 2,000 if I recall. These are pogroms, btw, in which many died & often in cold blood. As for Awarta, when a government engages in collective terrorizing of an entire village that’s a pogrom. Nice to see you justify the iDF’s acts of savagery because they didn’t actually kill anyone. They only caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to virtually every home in the village. That’s totally acceptable to you. And how many could they have killed before it would’ve made you slightly uncomfortable??
Sending out the goon squad to coerce people into giving up information is abusive and tearing up people’s homes knowing that most of the homes have no relation to the crime is also abusive and possibly criminal, but it’s a trivialization of the meaning of pogrom and an adult should have known better.
” No crime, no matter how heinous merits wholesale violations of internationally accepted human rights provisions.”
Said the American that, along with his international allies, either violates human rights or ignores them in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lybia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, Iran….
Hasbara, snore, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…