Shocked Israeli settlers bury their dead

Thousands of stunned and bitter mourners flocked to Jerusalem`s main cemetery to bury three young children and their parents, killed as they slept in their West Bank settlement.

Jerusalem: Thousands of stunned and
bitter mourners flocked to Jerusalem`s main cemetery today to
bury three young children and their parents, killed as they
slept in their West Bank settlement.

Family and neighbours wailed aloud and rabbis and
settler leaders decried the ferocity of the weekend attack in
Itamar settlement, in which three-month-old Hadas Fogel,
four-year-old Elad, Yoav, 11, and their parents Udi and Ruthie
were stabbed to death in their beds.

Ruthie was a French citizen and French Consul-General
Frederic Desagneaux attended the ceremony, conveying
condolences from President Nicolas Sarkozy although he made no
public statement.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said at least 20,000
people attended the funeral, which took place without any
disturbances but was overshadowed by a bitter outpouring of
anti-Palestinian sentiment.

The killers, who are believed to be Palestinian, are
still at large and police are on high alert for fear of
possible reprisals by settlers against locals once the burial
rites are over.

"We`ll see what happens later," Rosenfeld said.

"You savage Arabs, lacking humanity, will not break
us," Gershon Masika, head of the local settler council which
includes Itamar, said as the bodies were laid in the five
graves; the father and his sons wrapped in ritual Jewish
prayer shawls and the mother and daughter in blue sheets.

"There is no Jewish heart that does not bleed, no
person can remain unmoved by such difficult pictures," said
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, his voice breaking with
emotion.

He said the multiple killing showed the futility of
trying to negotiate with the Palestinians.

"Whom do we have to sit with and talk peace?" he said.
Rafi Ben-Basat, a family friend, expressed the same
sentiment.

"This was a barbaric act that only animals are capable
of," he said. "It is time for the nation to sober up and tell
its leaders to stop making concession after concession."

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, representing
the government at the funeral, addressed himself to
12-year-old Tamar, who discovered the bodies of her parents
and siblings when she returned home from a friend`s house.

"Although the angel of death passed though the house
and took you in its clutches, you will lead those left alive,"
he said.

"It will not be an easy task, it will require of you
great spiritual reserves."

PTI

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