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The student news site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

The student news site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

Increasing Israeli-Palestinian conflict shouldn’t be ignored

It is a story that, given the flurry of international news in the past weeks, few have heard. On March 11, the same day that a catastrophic tsunami hit Japan and a day before the Arab League asked the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, the Fogel family was brutally murdered as they slept.

It is the circumstances of the Fogel family’s death that makes their story so significant. The Fogels were Israelis, living in the settlement of Itamar in the West Bank. The family members – young parents in their thirties, two small children and a baby – were slashed to death in their beds.  They were discovered when their twelve-year-old girl came home that night. One can only imagine the horror of opening the front door to discover such a slaughter.

Across the valley from Itamar is Awarta, a Palestinian village. It is there that the Israeli Army has centered its investigation into what many Israelis consider a terrorist attack.

Only a few hours after the bodies of the family were found, Israeli troops overtook the Palestinian city, essentially ruling by martial law.  They established a curfew for four days, split the town into quadrants, and required that boys over the age of 15 had to report to military posts for questioning, fingerprinting and DNA swabbing.

The Israeli military has searched high and low for the killer or killers. Of the 1,500 houses in the town, about half have been searched; of the 7,000 residents, 300 have been arrested and 25 remain in custody.  No charges have been filed. Residents claim the Israeli soldiers have broken down doors and destroyed property. Some houses, they say, have been searched upwards of four times.

Many nations and international organizations have condemned the attack, as have the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister and many of the residents of Awarta. Israelis are, naturally, appalled.

The story of the Fogel family is one of unimaginable brutality and terror. Adults murder each other every day, but to kill two young children and an infant is simply unthinkable.

This massacre in Itamar cannot be looked at in a vacuum, however. It occurred, after all, almost exactly a year (according to the Islamic calendar) after two 19-year-old Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in Awarta. Even the Israeli military conceded that the shootings shouldn’t have taken place. And less than two weeks after the Fogels were murdered, on March 23, a bus bombing in Jerusalem killed a woman and injured dozens others. It appears the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be heating up at a time when the world, especially the Middle East, is struggling and failing to keep the peace.

Both the Israelis and the Palestinians must search within themselves to find some shred of will for peace. Palestinian militancy and terrorism must stop, just as Israeli provocation, aggressiveness and stubbornness must be toned down.  It seems both sides are determined not to compromise in a situation that requires just that.

In the meantime, the international community cannot neglect the conflict in favor of more hot-button issues such as Libya. Planes may not be dropping bombs in the West Bank and there is as yet no gunfire, but for many reasons – for the issues it raises about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for the way it has been too aggressively addressed by the Israeli military, for the pure horror of the atrocity – the story of the Fogel family is not one that should go untold.

SOURCES: Fox News, The New York Times, CNN

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Increasing Israeli-Palestinian conflict shouldn’t be ignored