May 2 2004 – In the atrocity in Gaza on May 2, the gunmen fired on the family’s car from 20 yards away. When 34-year-old Tali Hatuel, a social worker who was in her last trimester of pregnancy, lost control of the vehicle, the Palestinian terrorists approached the vehicle and executed Tali and her daughters — Hila, 11; Hadar, 9; Roni, 7 and Merav, 2 — one by one at close range.

An Israeli soldier takes a bible out of a car that was shot by two Palestinians, killing a 34 year old Israeli mother and her four daughters as they were driving the to the Jewish area of the Gaza Strip, May 2, 2004. REUTERS/Nir Elias
Come with me for a walk down memory lane, courtesy of BtB archives.
CNN mentioned the Hatuel murders only in an article headlined, “Israel kills four militants in West Bank.” I found that especially odd at the time since just before Tali Hatuel’s car came to the ambush site, the terrorists had opened fired on two armored vans belonging to a CNN news team.

…. No one was hurt, but producer Mike Schwartz realized that a terrorist attack was in progress, and instructed the cars to drive forward and then park in the middle of the road. He thus prevented additional cars from falling into the ambush trap. 

Though Schwartz heroically saved the lives of those in some ten cars behind him, he couldn’t help the Hatuel family, who was already on its way into the trap. The terrorists shot at the car carrying the mother and her four daughters, and when the vehicle veered off the side of the road, the terrorists performed “ascertainment of death:” they ran over to the car and, at point-blank range, shot each of the occupants to death: Tali, the 8-month pregnant mother, and Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and two-year-old Meirav. The murderers then continued to unload dozens of more bullets into the bodies. Zaka volunteers worked for a long while afterwards to collect the body parts from the car and its vicinity.

In those days I was still in the habit of pointing out that the Palestinian media described the attack as “an act of heroic martyrdom.” Over time I’ve come to take this for granted.
On the day of the murders, I blogged Jennifer Griffin’s report from Israel on FoxNews:

… she reported the names of two of the killed terrorists, though not, of course, the names of the innocent civilian Israeli “settler” and her children, who were shot dead at close range.

It was in the same post that told about Sharon’s disengagement plan being rejected by Likud voters in a 62% – 38% vote. 
It was still a year and some months before the Jews of Gaza would be “evacuated.” I tried to explain Gush Katif:

* 21 communities, most of them founded some 20 years ago
* close to 8,000 residents
* 26 synagogues
* over 20 yeshivot, schools and other educational institutions (not including nurseries and kindergartens)
* 900 acres of greenhouses growing bugless lettuce, cherry tomatoes (90% of Israel’s exports), organic vegetables, spices, flowers, plants and more
* $60 million a year in exports – an average of $7,500 for every man, woman and child
* manufactures 70% of all of Israel’s organic produce
* has faced over 4,000 mortar shells and Kassam rocket attacks, as well as 10,000 shooting incidents, at the hands of Palestinian terrorists over the past 3.5 years
* a 10% growth in population since the Oslo War began in September 2000

That was Sunday.
On MondayAustralia outlawed the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and we found out that the murderers of Tali Hatuel and her children had videotaped the aftermath. Victor Davis Hanson’s column said that

We are presently engaged in a world war for our civilization and its vision of a just and humane society. Our values will either endure this present struggle and indeed be invigorated by the ordeal, or like once great civilizations of the past we will stumble in the face of barbarism and lose all that we hold dear.

Aaron Lerner (IMRA) noted that a “key theme driving support for [Israeli] retreat [from Gaza] is a view that there is a need to ‘do something’ about the ‘situation.'” 

Israeli troops blocked the entrance to Arafat’s headquarters; there was a kerfuffle about some anti-Israel “artwork” in Melbourne Australia – financed by that city; and Oriana Fallaci’s new book was reviewed.
On Tuesday, palestinians burned mock coffins representing Israel in the “refugee camp of Rafah” (my comment was Imagine a “Palestinian state”); Syria and the Saudis blamed the Zionists for their terror woes, and DEBKA pointed out that

Al Qaeda has provided itself with a large reservoir of crack troops from Saddam Hussein’s Special Republican Guards who are willing to fight and lay down their lives for the sake of terrorist action on behalf of al Qaeda. These men are highly trained in urban guerrilla tactics and chemical and biological warfare. Their participation enabled the Islamic fundamentalist organization to attempt a chemical attack in Jordan in the second half of April.

Meanwhile, “Palestinian and American peace activists launched an unprecedented television campaign to dispel the negative Palestinian image among the US public.” 

The Arab League complained to Vienna’s mayor about a plan to name a public square after Theodor Herzl in honor of his 100th yarhzheit. They said it would represent “a sad memory for Arabs and Muslims” and that the plan could lead to terrorism.
On Wednesday, I got a an Alert from CAMERA that NPR had blamed Tali Hatuel and her daughters for their own murders, saying “… there was ample evidence yesterday to show that their [i.e. the settlers’] continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed.” Four years later, I would like to know what Julie McCarthy now thinks about her egregious statement.

The New York Times was busy Bush-bashing.
On Thursday, I gave Jeff Jacoby BtB KUDOS for his op-ed in the Boston Globe: Abandoning Gaza won’t end terrorism.

…. The Hatuels opposed Ariel Sharon’s proposed Gaza pullout because they understood that unilaterally surrendering land to Hamas and the PLO could only result in more terror and bloodshed, not less. If the past decade — the era of the “land for peace” delusion — has made anything clear, it is that the more Israel concedes to the Palestinians, the worse Palestinian terror becomes. Abandoning Gaza will not make the Arabs more peaceful. It will simply strengthen their conviction that Israelis can be defeated through terrorism and make Gaza a more effective staging-area for attacks on Jews.


Rick Richman reported in the Jewish Press that John Kerry was proposing to appoint Jimmy Carter as a “presidential ambassador” to the peace process “in the first days of a Kerry administration.” If I remember correctly, that idea went over like a lead balloon.

Larry Elder pointed out that 20 Tons of WMD had been found:

Jordan recently seized 20 tons of chemicals trucked in by confessed al Qaeda members who brought the stuff in from Syria. The chemicals included VX, Sarin and 70 others. But the media seems curiously incurious about whether one could reasonably trace this stuff back to Iraq.


Palestinian doctor was sentenced to death in Libya for deliberately spreading aids in a children’s hospital, and the United states condemned the verdict as “unacceptable.”
On Friday, BtB noted that the majority of Jordanians consider themselves “Palestinians,” Jews cannot become citizens in Jordan, and Condoleezza Rice was planning to meet with Abu Ala(Ahmed Qureia) in Eurabia; Israel appointed an Arab Christian to their Supreme Court; and Melanie Phillips said in a speech in London that “The resurgence of Jew-hatred in Britain should be a cause of concern for everybody.”
Then came Shabbos, and on the Sunday that marked one week since Tali Hatuel and her daughters were murdered, we learned that Joseph Massad, Assistant Professor of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, said the following in a lecture at Oxford:

“The Jews are not a nation. The Jewish state is a racist state that does not have a right to exist.”


That Sunday was Mother’s Day, and there was a memorial servicefor Tali and her girls.

DEBKA: Gunfire from Palestinians disguised as women on memorial ceremony at Kissufim junction for Tali Hatuel and her four daughters murdered there by Palestinians terrorist May 2. No one hurt. Hundreds of mourners threw themselves to the ground and were evacuated under fire. Israeli soldiers shot two Palestinian gunmen dead.

An Israeli settler protects his daughter during an attack by Palestinian militants … Sunday May 9, 2004. Palestinian militants fired on a group of settlers holding a memorial ceremony at the spot where a pregnant woman and her four young daughters were killed by militants last week. Settlers armed with assault rifles and soldiers returned fire, the army said. Writing in the background reads, in Hebrew, ‘Rooting Out Settlements,’ at right in blue, and ‘Victory For Terror,’ at left in red. (AP Photo/Edi Israel)
Later in the week, Nicholas Berg was beheaded (remember him?) and Hamas announced that they were holding body parts of murdered Israeli soldiers for ransom.
Lest you think I was stirred to remember all this on my own, it was Naomi Ragen’s email today that reminded me of the Hatuel family. Todah rabah to Naomi.

Because this is already so long, I’ll tuck Naomi’s commentary (with links to memorial videos) under the fold — but please take the time to read what she says.


We cannot give into our enemies desire to annihilate our people, our faith, our culture and our history. We cannot give in to their phony rewriting of their barbarous history. The way to peace is through a recognition of what really happened here, and who is really responsible. We cannot allow the wind to blow sand over the blood of this woman and these small children. 

We have no right to forgive, and we have an obligation to remember, and not to forget. From the same sandy stretches that once held hothouses and a thriving Jewish life, now comes rockets and missiles fired by hate-filled terrorists that kill and maim more Israeli families.



Naomi Ragen writes:

Friends,I am re-reading the book by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits: Faith After the Holocaust.

His words, referring to Western Civilization’s behavior during the Holocaust, seem to ring especially true today in describing our own world and what is being done to our people: “This has been a moral and spiritual collapse the like of which the world has never witnessed for contemptibility and inhumanity. We are confronting a morally bankrupt civilization and religion[s]. Underneath such lack of sensitivity to historical truth still lingers the barbarous concept that the fact that someone is persecuted and made to suffer by others is proof that something is wrong with him.”

It has been four years since the murder of Tali Hatuel and her daughters. On May 2, 2004, Tali Hatuel, 34, and her daughters – Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 – from Moshav Katif in Gush Katif – were on their way to campaign against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan. Their white Citroen station wagon spun off the road after the initial shootong, and then the attackers approached the vehicle, killing the pregnant woman and children at close range and in cold blood. The Hatuels’ car was riddled with bullets, and the carpet inside was stained with blood. The girls were killed hugging one another. On the car was a bumper sticker saying, “Uprooting the settlements, victory for terror.”

David Hatuel made the decision to remarry. God has blessed him with a daughter. He devotes his time to education.

We cannot give into our enemies desire to annihilate our people, our faith, our culture and our history. We cannot give in to their phony rewriting of their barbarous history. The way to peace is through a recognition of what really happened here, and who is really responsible. We cannot allow the wind to blow sand over the blood of this woman and these small children.

We have no right to forgive, and we have an obligation to remember, and not to forget. From the same sandy stretches that once held hothouses and a thriving Jewish life, now comes rockets and missiles fired by hate-filled terrorists that kill and maim more Israeli families.

Please remember. View the videos below and pass this message on.
To help the displaced heroes of Gush Katif:

Dror Vanunu

In Israel: The Gush Katif Committee

P.O Box 450, Ahuzat Etrog, 79411


(c) 972-54-7775662


In the US: Friends of Gush Katif

P.O Box 1184, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Toll Free 1800-410-1502


Subscribe here to Naomi’s mailing list.


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