It was a story that sent shivers down the collective spine of people of good will across the world. Five members of a young Israeli family — including a 3-month old infant — were brutally slain in their home by two Palestinian men. Now, Israel Defense Forces court sentenced the second of two men responsible for the savage Fogel family massacre to five life sentences.
Amjad Awad, a 19-year-old student, carried out the crime with his cousin, Hakim Awad, who was already sentenced to five consecutive life sentences in October 2011.
The judges’ panel contemplated whether to give Awad the death penalty, saying the youth “doesn’t have a fragment of regret in his heart.” However, ultimately the judges said that despite the horrid acts he carried out, they decided not to sentence him to a harsher punishment than the one the military prosecution had requested.
The remorseless Palestinians — linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — killed parents Ehud and Ruth, along with three of their young children: Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and 3-month old Hadas in the family’s Itamar home on March 11, 2011.
Both Awad cousins confessed to the murder and forensic evidence, including DNA samples and fingerprints found at the scene, corroborate their confession.
The Awad cousins set out that Friday evening — Shabbat for observant Jews — bearing knives and a wire cutter. Haaretz provides the disturbing details on how the attack was said to have unfolded after that:
The two men scaled Itamar’s security fence undetected, proceeding another 400 meters into the settlement, and proceeding to break into the house next to that of the Fogel family, which turned out to be empty. The two stole an M-16 assault rifle, a clip, a military vest, and a helmet from the neighboring house, and approached the Fogel home.
They noticed the children Yoav, 11, and Elad, 4, through the window, and stabbed them to death as they entered the house. At that point the two proceeded to the bedroom of parents Udi and Ruth, who struggled with their assailants until Udi was stabbed to death and Ruth was shot using the stolen rifle.
At first, the killers failed to notice 3-month-old baby Hadas, who had been sleeping in her parents’ bed, and left the house, fearing the shootings would alert security forces. However, after a few moments outside, Hakim and Amjad Awad understood that they had yet to be detected, with Amjad coming back into the house in order to steal another rifle. As he entered the parents’ bedroom, he noticed baby Hadas and stabbed her to death.
On their way out, Amjad noticed other children in the house, but chose to leave anyway, sparing the lives of Roi, 8-year-old and 2-year-old orphans Roi and Yishai.
Many feel that life sentences are too lenient a punishment given the particularly heinous, cold-blooded nature of the crime. But sadly, even a death-sentence would be more humane than the horrific way in which five innocent lives were ravaged, and, extinguished.