Abandoning Gaza won't end terrorism
MEIRAV, the 2-year-old, had been strapped into a car seat for safety. But car seats are no protection against bullets, and by the time rescue workers reached the Citroen station wagon, Meirav was dead of multiple gunshot wounds to the head. So was her 7-year-old sister, Roni. And Hadar, the 9-year-old. And Hila, 11. One by one, each had been shot at point-blank range.
In the driver's seat, their mother was dead, too. Tali Hatuel, 34, was a social worker who was often called upon to comfort and assist victims of terrorism. Eight months pregnant with her first boy, she had been driving to Ashkelon on Sunday for an ultrasound exam. Then she and the girls had planned to join her husband, David, at an election precinct to urge voters to oppose the controversial Israeli referendum on unilaterally "disengaging" from the Gaza Strip.
But David never saw his wife and daughters alive again. He buried them Sunday evening, sobbing with grief and surrounded by thousands of mourners in Ashkelon's new cemetery. "You were my flowers," he wept. "I am all alone and there is no one left."
Not long after the slaughter of the Hatuel family, two terror groups -- Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committee -- proudly claimed responsibility in a call to the Associated Press. The Voice of Palestine radio praised the quintuple murder as a "heroic" operation against "five settlers," not bothering to mention that the victims were an unarmed pregnant woman and four children or that their bodies had been riddled with bullets fired at close range.
The savagery of the attack was similarly downplayed by National Public Radio in its broadcast the next morning. Actually, reporter Julie McCarthy did more than minimize the horror of the massacre. She blamed the victims for "provoking" their own murder -- not by anything they did but by their mere "presence" in the disputed territory.
The settlers were rallying to defeat the Gaza pullout referendum, McCarthy reported, "saying Israel was withdrawing under fire. But there was ample evidence yesterday to show that their continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed. Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen after the men ambushed a mother and her four small daughters outside the Gaza settlement of Gush Katif. The family was shot and killed on their way to the Israeli city of Ashkelon."
In NPR's warped moral calculus, Tali Hatuel and her children are in early graves not because Palestinian culture celebrates the mass murder of Jews but because Jews have no business living among Arabs. If McCarthy had been reporting from Birmingham in September 1963, would she have blamed the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on the provocative "presence" of the four black girls who died in the explosion? Continued...