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Graphic Content: Israel Plans Settlement Expansions Following Brutal Slaughter of Jewish Family

Graphic Content: Israel Plans Settlement Expansions Following Brutal Slaughter of Jewish Family

"We must strengthen the settlement, and the time is now."

Israel has announced plans to build hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements in a direct response to the grisly stabbing murders of a married Jewish settler couple and three of their children -- two kids and an infant -- as they slept Friday night.

There are horrific photographs of the murder scene (the 3-year-old stabbed in the heart, the baby's throat slashed) that the family has apparently allowed to be distributed though the Israeli government decided against an official release.  A video complication of the images did not last long on YouTube and Facebook according to Powerline.

This is the video in question.  It is very graphic and should only be viewed with our strong content warning in mind.

The family was reportedly attacked by Palestinian militants who broke into the family's home, the UK Guardian reports.

On Sunday, Israeli police blocked off entrances to Jerusalem and detoured vehicles as more than 20,000 mourners accompanied the innocent family members to their grave sites.

The shocking crime is pushing back any prospects of renewed peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians as Israel moved to approve the construction of 500 new housing units less than 24 hours after the Fogel family's murder:

The homes are to be built in the large settlement blocks which Israel expects to keep under any peace agreement with the Palestinians. It is the biggest tranche of construction announced since the end of the settlement freeze almost six months ago. Some members of the Israeli cabinet pushed for a more radical response to the family's murder. Interior minister Eli Yishai, of the pro-settlement, rightwing Shas party, said Israel should build "at least a thousand new homes for each person murdered".

Housing minister Ariel Atias, also of Shas, said: "We must strengthen the settlement, and the time is now."

The move signals a stiffening of the Israeli government's stance in the face of international pressure for a gesture to encourage peace talks to resume. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had been expected to propose an interim Palestinian state on temporary borders, but analysts suggested that may now be shelved.

The Palestinian Authority said the construction announcement was aimed at addressing Netanyahu's domestic political problems within his fragile coalition. It would not "cause the Palestinians to forgo their right to independence and freedom," said a spokesman, Ahmad Assaf.

The Guardian also reported emerging details of the Fogel family's murder as Israeli troops hunt the assailants:

The attacker or attackers scaled Itamar's perimeter fence, triggering an alarm. Settlement security investigated but failed to notify the Israeli military. The intruders waited inside the settlement for some time after identifying their target, then entered the Fogels' house through a window. Two children were killed first, then the father, who was asleep with his baby daughter, and then the mother, who, it was reported, attempted to shoot the attackers with the family's gun. The attackers then escaped over the perimeter fence, triggering a second alarm.

The bodies were discovered by the Fogels' 12-year-old daughter, who had been attending a youth event in the settlement. Two other children in the house were physically unharmed. The surviving children were being cared for by their grandparents and social workers.

Graphic photographs of the bloodsoaked bodies were yesterday emailed to journalists by the settlers' Yesha council and a Jerusalem public relations firm. Government officials considered distributing the photographs, but decided against the move.

The hunt for the attackers continued for a second daywith a heavy police and military presence in Palestinian towns and villages around Itamar. At least 20 men were arrested in the nearby village of Awarta. Security forces were also on alert against reprisal attacks by hardline settlers.

Compounding the outrage, Palestinian residents of Rafah handed out candy to celebrate the murders:

Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.

Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy "is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank."

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