Emanuele Ottolenghi’s take on the Itamar murders

March 20, 2011 by Emanuele Ottolenghi
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The silliest of all Western reactions to the slaughter of the Fogel family has been to suggest that the murder of three children was aimed at torpedoing the peace process.

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Murdering Israeli babies was never a tactical move against negotiations. It is a crime against humanity.

Besides, there has not been a peace process since 2009. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has shunned direct negotiations with Israel since September – and then, only after agreeing to negotiate in August after more than a year of boycotting direct talks. President Obama has done everything in his power to perpetuate this.

The most morally depraved response was that the murder was caused by Israel’s provocation – the settlements. Blaming the victims for their own suffering is the kind of moral inversion that runs through centuries of Western excuses for the murder of Jews.

Anyone trying to find an excuse for the disgorging of a three-month old girl has lost their moral compass. Negotiations, not infanticide, could have solved the settlement issue.

The most hypocritical response was to criticise Israel for responding by authorising the building of new housing units in existing settlement blocs.

Curiously, there are those who assume peace can only be achieved by removing Jews from settlements, rather than finding a territorial compromise with guarantees for those who wish to continue to live there to do so without fear.

Obviously, Jews will have to be removed from settlements in a territorial compromise. But the reason is not that their presence is an obstacle to peace. It is that their neighbours are not interested in coexistence.

Itamar also highlights the double standard Israel is subjected to. It is expected to treat its Arab minority well. But a future state of Palestine is excused for ensuring ethnic purity in its population at the expense of people who have lived on the land for three generations or more.

Abbas has repeatedly said he will not let one Jew live under Palestinian sovereignty – and, knowing from experience how Jews in particular and minorities in general fare under Arab rule, nobody should harbour any illusions – to leave Jews at the mercy of Palestinian security forces is to invite more family slaughters.

So, what impact will the slaughter have? It will strengthen the gut feeling many Israelis have about their neighbours. As Israel’s foremost new historian, Benny Morris, concluded long ago, Israel is fighting barbarism. There shall not be any peace, any time soon. Not after this.

Shame on people for blaming Israel for the spilled blood of its children.

Emanuele Ottolenghi is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies


One Response to “Emanuele Ottolenghi’s take on the Itamar murders”
  1. A disappointing piece from Emanuele Ottolenghi. Ottolenghi makes an outlandish statement that Abbas will not let one Jew live under Palestinian sovereignty. This is fear mongering and disinformation at its best. This claim is a misinterpretation of a Jerusalem Post article that refers to Israelis.


    Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has reiterated his support for protection of the rights of those Jews who wish to remain under Palestinian sovereignty.


    The point of Abba’s was that the new Palestinians State did not want an IDF presence nor Israeli settlers. Remember 1/5 of Israelis are Palestinian in ethnicity. Abbas’ statement was against a continued military presence in Palestine not against Jews. This is quite a different message to the inflammatory rhetoric presented by Mr Ottolenghi.

    Further for the Palestine National Authority response to the Itamar murders see:


    “A horrible murder of children has occurred. The killing of three innocent Israeli children by an unknown assailant should not and must not be condoned by anyone. To exploit the deaths of these children for political purposes is abhorrent. However, that is exactly what the extreme religious movements, some national parties, and the Israeli leadership within Israel are doing by calling for the expansion of settlements. They are using the deaths of these children to justify the building of more illegal settlements…The deaths of these children should be lamented by all. They have been denied their right to life. It is incumbent on all parties to protect all children’s right to life and liberty. Occupation denies Palestinian children and adults their rights to liberty and freedom. Ending occupation, ending incitement, and instilling a respect for two peoples and two states is the future that all of us must focus on.”

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