and Presenting Facts About Israel
this a struggle for freedom?”
The murder of Tali Hatuel and her daughters
London - published on 9 May 2004
Beyond Images Ref: 91
34-year old Tali Hatuel and her four daughters were shot
dead by Palestinian gunmen on 2 May 2004. This Briefing
describes the event, and its aftermath. The reactions which
we highlight require no further comment.
The murder of an Israeli family
Tali Hatuel lived in the Gaza settlement of Gush Katif with
her husband David and their four daughters Hila (11), Hadar
(9), Roni (7) and Merav (2). At the time of the killings, Tali
Hatuel was 8 months pregnant, and expecting a boy. She was a
social worker who devoted much of her time to helping Israelis
who had lost relatives in terror attacks.
On the Sunday afternoon of 2 May 2004, Tali Hatuel drove her
daughters after school to meet her husband in the nearby town
of Ashkelon. As they were driving on the Kissufim road leading
out of the Gaza Strip the car was ambushed by two Palestinian
The car, riddled with bullet-holes, span off the road. The
gunmen approached and shot Tali Hatuel and each of her four
daughters at point blank range.
Israeli troops who rushed to the scene killed the two terrorists,
who were identified as residents of the southern Gaza town of
Rafah. In a call to the Associated Press, the Palestinian Islamic
Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility
for the attack. (The Popular Resistance Committees are linked
to the Fatah faction led by Yasser Arafat).
It was reported in various newspapers that official Voice of
Palestine radio hailed the gunmen as “heroic martyrs”.
Several thousand mourners attended the Hatuel funerals the same
evening. “You were my flowers and I will not forget you”
sobbed David Hatuel, over the shrouded bodies of his family.
Haim Ben Aryeh, neighbour of the Hatuel family:
“They were a true Israeli family – good,
quiet people who loved education and they raised four
Israeli president Moshe Katsav, who attended
the funeral, said:
“Arab leaders should be ashamed of the atrocity…
You are a disgrace, talking about Allah while a mother
and four children are murdered. Is this what you call
a struggle for freedom?”
Writer Judith Weil (letter from Jerusalem,
Jewish Tribune, 6 May 2004)
“Israelis wonder whether their efforts to live
normal lives have resulted in their becoming inured to
reports of the repeated terrorist attacks the country
has experienced during the course of recent years.
They learned this week that it was not so. In shops and
in offices, in personal conversations and on the buses,
in doctors’ waiting rooms and in schools, there
was only one thing on everyone’s mind, the terrible
catastrophe – and the terrible wickedness –
that took the lives of four innocent little girls and
those of their mother and unborn brother….”
Palestinian source commenting on the Palestinian
Authority position (as reported in Ha’aretz 3 May
“There is no chance they will express reservations”
[and indeed the PA has remained silent about the
attack – Beyond Images]
Amnesty International (website statement)
“The deliberate killing by Palestinian armed groups
of a pregnant woman and her four young daughters shows
once again that these groups utterly disregard the most
fundamental principles of international law, notably the
absolute prohibition on the targeting of civilians. Amnesty
International condemns these murders in the strongest
terms. Amnesty International reiterates its call on all
Palestinian armed groups to put an immediate end to the
deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians, in Israel and
in the Occupied Territories”
The Voice of Palestine Radio (reported by Arabic
speaking journalist Michael Widlanski)
“The radio station repeatedly used the term is
tish-had (heroic martyrdom) and mustash-hidin
(heroic martyrs) to describe the act of
the “two youths”. After reporting the attackers’
names it repeated that they were “heroic martyrs”.
Israeli writer Naomi Ragen (email bulletin)
“We will not add five more numbers to those slain.
We will not turn the Hatuel family into a statistic. We
will not forget those five bodies wrapped in white shrouds,
lowered into the ground. The four little Jewish girls,
and their mother, pregnant and about to give birth to
her first son. We will not call them “settler”
and thus say: it is all right for armed men to put a gun
to the head of a two year old and shoot her twice, after
letting her watch her mother die. It is not all right
for Yasser Arafat to praise the men he sent out to murder
them as “heroic martyrs”. We will not allow
the international conspiracy of the world press to hide
what happened here, to succeed.
Ramember Tali. Remember her daughters. Hila, Hadar, Roni,
Merav. Remember. Say the names on every street corner.
Shout out your anger, your disgust. Cry out for justice.
Don’t let them be forgotten. Never. Never. Never.