Reports that at least 30,000 people were in attendance at the funeral of five members of the Fogel family, who were brutally murdered on Friday night while asleep in their beds. According to the Israeli army, two terrorists entered the town of Itamar, not far from Nablus, at about 10:30pm. The first house they entered was empty, but the second house was full with five children and two parents. The terrorists killed three of the children, ages 3 months old, 4 years old and 11 years old and the father, 36 year old Udi Fogel and the mother, 34 year old Ruth. Two children were overlooked, a 6 year old and a two year old. At about 12:30am the family’s oldest child returned from a youth activity and discovered her massacred family and her two surviving siblings.
New Housing Approved By Israeli Cabinet
In response to this bloody incident the Israeli cabinet approved the construction of several hundred new homes in several different localities in the disputed West Bank, including in Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer. The Associated Press reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office sent a text message to journalists stating that all the new construction has been approved in areas which are considered to be major settlement blocs that Israel intends to keep after a final peace settlement has been reached.
Palestinians Think New Building “Big Mistake”
Saeb Erakat, senior PLO official and a former key Palestinian negotiator said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) condemns the “decision of the Israeli government to speed up and increase the building of settlements.”
“[The PA] strongly condemns the settler attacks against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and we ask the Quartet [the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia] to urgently intervene to stop the actions of the settlers,” Erakat said.
Nabil Abu Rudeina, the spokesman for the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the Israeli decision to build more housing units, saying that it is a “big mistake” and will lead to “more problems.”
“The decision taken to build new settlements is a mistake and unacceptable,” he said in a statement.
“It will destroy everything and will lead to big problems.”
Building Moratorium Ended in September But New Construction Still Lags Behind Demand
About 300-500 new apartments were approved according to an anonymous source. There have been ground breakings for about 500 new housing units since the 10-month long moratorium on building by Israel expired in September, but approval of hundreds of additonal construction plans have been held up by the government, until now.