The Shabak removed the gag order about the suspects it arrested (one 12 days ago and one 7 days ago) in the Itamar murders. It revealed that it charged two boys from the extended Awad family (though not directly related):
Israeli security forces have arrested two teenage residents of the West Bank Arab village of Awarta for allegedly carrying out last month’s murder of five family members in the settlement of Itamar, the lifting of a gag order revealed on Sunday.
Palestinian students Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad 18, both admitted to committing the murder.
…The two suspects, who are unrelated to one another, were identified as members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine along with several members of their family.
Shin Bet investigators have at this point not identified the murder as being carried out under the auspices of the Popular Front organization. According to what is currently known, the murders were carried out independently by the two suspects.
I wrote a post two days ago based on information provided me from a source who told me the motive for the killings was robbery (that’s the motive I couldn’t report at the time). As this German source says:
Israeli Colonel Nimrod Aloni said in a telephone briefing…the two suspects are believed to have acted on their own and had initially planned to penetrate the settlement only to steal weapons, he said. The murder of the family, he believed, happened along the way.
It appears as sometimes happens that the IDF has a different interpretation of the crime than the Shabak. The latter naturally has even more of a need to create a narrative of terror and blood lust than the IDF. Though nothing can justify the murders themselves, it does appear that this was a crime, as my source originally told me, of theft gone wrong.
In this separate Haaretz article, the Shabak again takes great pains to point to one conspirator’s evident intent to kill Jews, while playing down the second conspirator’s intent to commit robbery:
The minor, Hakim Awad, made a different claim. His confession appears to indicate that he regarded the incident as a burglary and the theft of weapons. But when they thought they had been caught, the break-in turned into murder.
The difference between the two versions may not be that significant…but either way this was a case of premeditated murder.
Note the throwaway interpolation by Amos Harel, which clearly indicates the prejudice inherent in the Israeli perspective on the crime. It may be a moot point for an Israeli justice system which tends to grind down and spit out terror suspects; but in most legal systems, a suspect who didn’t premeditate murder would have a meaningful mitigating factor in consideration of his sentence. And contrary to Harel’s erroneous claim, Hakim did not premeditate murder. He did participate in murders, but that wasn’t in his mind, according to him, when he started out.
Also, in Haaretz’s version of the story the boys knew there were other children in the home but hurried away and did not kill them for fear of being detected. In the German media account, also based on a Shabak source, the killers noticed the children and deliberately did not kill them.
For those right-wingers who may be disgusted by the points I’m raising, don’t forget that you (if you’re Israeli) live in a so-called democracy in which a man is innocent till proven guilty and that he is entitled to the strongest possible legal defense, even if accused of cold-blooded murder. That seems lost on many of our far-right friends who believe that hanging is too good for ’em. So yes, what is in a criminal’s mind when he commits a crime is important. Though perhaps it’s not to you.
My source also told me that the suspects were linked to the crime scene by DNA evidence.
It should be noted that the Shabak has published a lie in its own account of its investigation saying only that “tens” of residents of Awarta were arrested, when the number is well north of 100 and probably closer to 200 or more. The statement also does not mention the wholesale devastation wrought by the combined Shabak, IDF and police forces who ransacked virtually all the homes in the village, destroyed furniture and major appliances and wreaked all manner of havoc in pure acts of collective punishment and vengeance.
Shabak reveals that the uncle of one of the suspects was killed by the IDF in 2003 for his alleged involvement in several murders that occurred in Itamar. It doesn’t say that the uncle was killed in cold blood, as usually the army claims those killed were armed and resisted. However, often this is not the case and the victims are not armed, but are killed through the “justice of the gun.”
Despite the fact that a villager the suspects approached in hopes of procuring a weapon for the attack didn’t help them, the former was arrested as well and will likely spend years in jail for his trouble.
This was an act of insanity. An act that could only be committed by someone literally insane or teenagers out to prove their manhood to their elders and comrades.
One of the other tragedies of this incident is that the killers used weapons they stole from another settler home to kill the Fogel parents.