Killing Israeli babies is not a tactic. It is a crime against humanity

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, March 17, 2011
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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.

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

Last updated: 12:17pm, March 17 2011