As the Daily Mail had reported…

Israel approves hundreds of new West Bank settlements in response to massacre which saw young family butchered in their beds

…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a special session of a ministerial committee on settlement to approve the step after pledging publicly the stabbings on Saturday would not deter Israel from building more homes for Jews in the West Bank.

‘This is the despicable murder of an entire, innocent family, parents and their young ones while they slept in their house,’ he said.

‘Israel will not ignore such a contemptible murder and will act aggressively to ensure the security of its civilians and to punish the murderers,’ he said in a statement.

Troops searched outside the settlement of Itamar, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, for the attacker or attackers who snuck into the home of Ehud and Ruti Fogel at night and knifed them and three of their children, aged 11, 4 and 3 months, as the family slept.

A 12-year-old daughter found their bodies after returning home from an evening youth group meeting.

With anger high in Israel and among settlers, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that ‘ministers decided to authorise construction’ of several hundred housing units in the Etzion bloc of settlements and in Maale Adumim, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer.

The move was likely to draw international dismay and harden Palestinian resolve not to return to peace talks frozen over Netanyahu’s refusal to extend a 10-month moratorium that expired in November on housing starts in West Bank settlements.

‘This decision is wrong and unacceptable and will only create problems,’ said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Expanded construction in West Bank settlements could bolster Netanyahu within his governing coalition, which is dominated by pro-settler parties, including his own right-wing Likud.

Btw, it’s 500 buildings approved, 100 for each death, but, Netanyahu fails to appease Jewish settlers outraged by brutal attack

Now, isn’t this an interesting turn of events…

Press report: Itamar culprit an Asian worker

An Asian worker is suspected of the murder of the Fogel family, a settler family from Itamar settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Palestinian press sources.

Quds Net news quoted local residents fro at infuriated with an Israeli settler for not paying him his wages carried out the killing of the settler’s family in Itamar, Palestinian press sources reported.

Quds Net news agency on Monday quoted a Palestinian family from Awarta village next to the settlement as saying that Mr. Fogel refused to pay 10,000 shekels in wages which he owed an Asian worker he hired. The worker threatened to kill the settler and his family.

The worker is suspected of committing the crime after midnight Friday using a knife then fleeing the scene to nearby Palestinian villages, the report added.

It noted that the Israeli army knows of the information leading to the suspect but refuse to announce or deal with it for political as well as security reasons.

And right on cue, from today’s Haaretz…

IDF continues mass West Bank arrests in wake of Itamar massacre
According to reports from Palestinian news agencies, the IDF took all men from the West Bank village of Awarta in for questioning.

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service continued to make wholesale arrests Monday in the West Bank village of Awarta, following the attack Friday night in the nearby settlement of Itamar, in which five members of the same family were murdered.

Meanwhile, groups of settlers tried to damage several houses in the Palestinian village. According to reports from Palestinian news agencies, the IDF took all Awarta men in for questioning…

Here’s a chilling eyewitness account of what has happened in Awarta…

Awarta Under Seige

International Solidarity Movement activists in Awarta describe a horrific “collective punishment” of the Palestinian village: children taken from school, homes raided, imposition of a 24-hour curfew, constant drone surveillance, and massive imprisonments of the male population.

“The soldiers have locked us with the children and young men and are guarding me now,” said an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We can’t leave the house and right now we can’t even leave this room.”

Awarta has become a ghost town, with all the villagers confined to their homes, running out of gas, scared and crying quietly under the buzz of drones and detonations of sound bombs.

“The soldiers take people in every house. I don’t know how many hundreds of people they’ve taken now. The children are scared, of course. The women are crying. They take their sons and fathers away. All the village is very quiet, people can’t really talk, the children have to be quiet,” the member said. After gathering some of them from school, Awarta’s boys and men were taken by soldiers to the jail near Huwara. “Here they are collectively punished.”

ISM reports that the military has beaten people, cut off electricity and polluted water lines, and broken computers and phones…

As Amnesty International reports…

Spike in West Bank violence condemned

Since Saturday morning, Israeli settlers have reportedly used stones, Molotov cocktails, guns, clubs and knives to attack Palestinians in vehicles and in their homes in villages and towns across the West Bank. Settlers have also burned fields, cars and property.

“We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Israeli security forces must act to prevent reprisals against Palestinian civilians by armed Israeli settlers.and bring those responsible to justice”

In some cases Palestinians have reported that Israeli security forces on the scene did nthing to stop the settler attacks. The Israeli military is also reported to have imposed a curfew in the village of Awarta, near Itamar, since Saturday morning, and to be detaining some 300 village residents. On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved the construction of 500 additional housing units in West Bank settlements in response to the killing of the Fogel family. “The timing of this announcement on settlement construction was deliberate. But the deplorable killing of the Fogel family must not be used as a pretext for acts by Israeli authorities that lead to further human rights violations,” said Philip Luther.

Israel to publish photos of Itamar murder victims around world… So, where’s the media attention for the Palestinians…? Oh, right… Israel demands CNN apology over attack coverage, and, Reuters denies using anti-Israel rhetoric…

I suppose the AFP has it about right for the Israelis’ taste…

Settlers ‘protest’ as army hunts killers near Nablus…

*gah*