the military wing of the Fatah party, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said they “oppose the targeting of civilians and killing of children no matter what the pretext may be.” A leaflet from the Imad Mughniyeh Group, loosely affiliated with Hezbollah and Fatah, added that in the past, it had “abandoned many attacks” due to the presence of children.
“We don’t deliberately target women and children,” several Palestinians who served time in Israeli prisons for activities against the occupation tell me unhesitatingly. Is this Palestinian cultural patriarchy at work or is it respect for international law that guides these accused militants? “But you put bombs inside civilian buses years ago. What’s the difference?” I ask.
I am struck by the answer: “This was a stabbing of children inside their homes – that’s not resistance. No bomber boarded a bus to kill children.”
International humanitarian law does not recognize the distinctions that these militants make: Indiscriminate attacks that are likely to kill civilians are plainly illegal. But, by the logic I was hearing, the distinction boils down to a matter of intent. Like the different degrees of murder recognized by the American criminal system.
“You know,” continues one of the former prisoners, “it took years for the resistance to agree to include Israeli settlers as targets.
The word from Palestinian security sources is that it was a foreign worker who murdered the Fogel family for money over a debt. Indeed, the foreign workers in the settlement were reportedly arrested and questioned by Israeli authorities.