President Shimon Peres condemned Friday's attack, saying :"This is one of the hardest and ugliest events that we've seen," Peres said. "The murder of parents and their young children, including a three-year-old and a month-old baby in their beds on Shabbat is a testimony of a loss of human dignity. "No religion or faith exists in the world which allows for such atrocious acts… "
They said the attack was an "heroic operation" that was "part of the natural response to the massacres of the fascist [Israeli] occupation against our people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," said the leaflet.
"Violence will only bring more violence – we must hurry to find a comprehensive, just solution to the conflict," said Abbas.
Abbas called Netanyahu earlier Saturday to condemn the settlement attack, following several long months of almost no communication between the two.
Netanyahu told Abbas that his condemnations are not enough. "The incitement must stop and the Palestinian people must be educated toward peace," said Netanyahu. [ Editorial: I believe that,given the broader context of the conflict, this is a major, important point that must be advocated by anyone seeking a win-win resolution of the conflict. See for example: -PA TV glorified terrorist who killed 3 in 2002 terror attack in the town of Itamar http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=4794 - MF]
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad also commented on the attack on Saturday, saying that "Violence does not justify violence, we condemn it completely, whoever does it and whoever the victims are."
Source for below: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4041106,00.html
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."
Source for below: http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=31615
"The Palestinian people don't like actions of this kind," Samih Hamoudah, a political scientist at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, told The Media Line. "People are aware of the fact that actions like this harm the Palestinians and therefore many believe that Jews did this in order to tarnish the Palestinian cause."
But on Sunday, Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah condemned the attack not only on practical grounds, but on moral ones as well.
"The Palestinian judgment of such an action is one of unequivocal condemnation and with the harshest words," columnist Adli Sadek wrote. "Not because this is a crime that harms us politically and publicly … but because such a heinous murder is unacceptable to human nature."
Hamas, the Islamic group controlling the Gaza Strip and ideologically committed to destroying Israel, pulled back from its initially enthusiastic support of the Itamar killings.
However, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza was circumspect about the Itamar attack, condoning the attack without claiming responsibility for it.
"We in Hamas completely support the resistance against settlers who murder and use crime and terror against the Palestinian people under the auspices of the Israeli occupation soldiers. Hamas official Sami Abu-Zuhri said on Saturday morning.
But, by Saturday night, Hamas’ tone had altered, as its spokesman explicitly distanced the organization and its leadership in Gaza from the attack.
"We are closely following the Israeli escalation against the Palestinian people and the attempts to implicate the Gaza Strip in the killing that took place in the settlement of Itamar, attempting to justify aggressive acts against the Strip," Hamas government spokesman Taher A-Nunu said. "At the same time, Hamas has denied its connection to the Itamar operation and does not rule out the possibility of a criminal act."
Reports said PA forces had arrested a number of Hamas activists. [ This justifies the AP subheadline "Palestinian forces join the hunt for suspects in the deaths. "--MF]
The White House called it an act of terrorism. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of five Israelis in a terrorist attack in the northern West Bank, and we offer our condolences to their loved ones and to the Israeli people," a statement said. "There is no possible justification for the killing of parents and children in their home."