Thousands mourn slain mother, girls

May 03, 2004

After the gunmen had sprayed the car with bullets, leaving the children dead or dying, the gunmen calmly walked up to the car and shot each child twice in the head execution-style at point-blank range. Arafat's EU-funded Fatah praised the heroes.

[Note by Tom Gross]


I attach various details about yesterday's terror attack that many media outside Israel have ignored. (Others may not have seen these on line in Israeli media either, since in many countries where subscribers to this list reside, this is a long May day holiday weekend.)

* This was an organized attack.

* Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction claimed co-responsibility for the "heroic" attack in statements sent to both Reuters and The Associated Press. It named the two dead "martyrs" as Ibrahim Hamed and Faisal Abuntera.

* The victims were civilians. A mother and four young girls. Tali Hatuel, 34, who was 8 months pregnant, and her four daughters, Hila, 11, Hadar, nine, Roni, seven, and Merav, two.

* After initial gunshots brought the car to a halt at the side of the road, Hamed and Abuntera approached the car and shot each of the children execution-style twice in the head at point-blank range.

* Tali Hatuel was a social worker. Part of her job was to comfort and assist victims of terrorist attacks.

* In one of the largest funerals in Israel in recent years, several thousand Israelis, including President Moshe Katsav, attended their funeral in Ashkelon last night.

* Tali's husband David Hatuel, who is principal of a school in Ashkelon, southern Israel, said that he and his wife were expecting their first son.

* Three other Israelis driving behind Tali Hatuel's car were injured.

* A CNN crew traveling in a bulletproof vehicle were the first to come under fire in the attack. None of the crew was wounded. They then went to alert soldiers and attempted to warn other motorists, but the Hatuel family's car passed by. "Four of us in the CNN crew were driving from Israel on the main road," CNN's Paula Hancocks told Israel Radio. "We came under fire. Multiple rounds were fired at our car, the first one an armored car that I was in. our cameraman was in a non-armored car, in a normal Land Rover. He was also shot at but luckily he escaped unhurt."



As last I checked, the following persons and organizations (all of whom regularly condemn Israel) have failed to condemn the attack:

Save the Children
Amnesty International
Christian Aid
The Israeli Palestinian peace organization IPCRI

Javier Solana (EU)
Chris Patten (EU)
Kofi Annan (UN)

This attack (and the thousands of leaflets distributed last night in Gaza proudly claiming responsibility for it) were paid for in part by Yasser Arafat's Fatah Organization, which is co-funded by the European Union.




Some media made clear that the victims were Israeli, although not that they were children. For example, the New York Times website yesterday (May 2, 2004) ran the headline: "Five Israelis Killed in Gaza Shooting." The article referred to "Palestinian militants." (The attack is not mentioned at all in the headline of today's NY Times story on Israel.)

For example, the Voice of America Internet site headline today, May 3, 2004, is "Palestinian Militants Kill 5 Israelis in Gaza." (Directly beneath this headline, VOA today runs another headline in which the word terrorism is used to refer to attacks in Saudi Arabia, attacks not targeting women and children.)

For example, the Seattle Post Intelligencer (May 2, 2004 12:10PM GMT) ran the headline: "5 Israelis killed in Gaza as Likud votes."

For example, the Guardian, UK, (May 2, 2004 12:45PM GMT) ran the headline: "5 Israelis Killed in Gaza As Likud Votes."

(The reason these and other headlines are the same is that they are copied from AP. Most of the world's media lazily take their headlines and much of their text from either the AP or Reuters news agencies, both of whom have a long-standing record of anti-Israeli coverage.)


Some media made clear the victims were children, though not Israeli. For example, "Gaza gunmen kill mother, four children" (Headline in the Irish Times, May 2, 2004 11:59AM GMT)


Other headlines did not make clear who the victims were at all. For example, "Five killed in Gaza" (USA Today, May 2, 2004 12:45PM GMT)

For example, "Militants claim Gaza settler attack" (South Africa's IOL. IOL is "the biggest news, classifieds and info site on the Web in South Africa. IOL is owned by Independent News & Media along with 14 national and regional newspapers, including most of the country's best-known titles.")


Only in some non-Moslem parts of Asia (i.e. where there is little historic anti-Semitism) do headlines reflect the facts. Thus one of the only news organizations in the world to make clear in its headlines that the victims were (1) Israeli (2) children, is Channel NewsAsia. Headline (May 2, 2004 11:57AM GMT): "Four Israeli children, woman killed in Gaza."


Typical of the headlines in the Arab media today is: "Five settlers killed in resistance strike."


On this occasion CNN used the word "terrorist" in some reports to describe the terrorists who carried out the attack.

The BBC - which through its English language TV broadcasts and its translations of its radio news broadcasts into dozens of languages has the biggest world-wide news reach - did not. BBC Gaza correspondent, David Chazan did, however, point out during an interview last night with the BBC studio anchor that "The Israelis call this kind of incident terrorism."

The BBC yesterday led their world news bulletins with the Israeli response air strike on a Hamas radio station. The BBC failed to make clear that no one was killed in this air strike, nor that the target radio station was one of the prime inciters of terror attacks on civilians. The BBC simply stated, "We have reports of ambulances rushing to the scene of Israel's attack in Gaza."


British Liberal Member of Parliament (and until recently a UK parliamentary spokesperson on children's issues) has yet to hold a public minute's silence in honor of yesterday's dead terrorists, Ibrahim Hamed and Faisal Abuntera, as she did in the case of Sheikh Yassin. (See "Rantissi 2: A minute's silence by British MPs for Sheikh Yassin," April 19, 2004.)

Oxford University poet-lecturer Tom Paulin has yet to write a poem in their memory, stating that they were gunned down by the "Zionist SS," as he has written about past "gun battles".

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.