The alarm system of the electronic fence surrounding the West Bank outpost of Itamar goes off at exactly 8:59 pm.This security failure had deadly consequences.
Over the next three minutes, seven more warning messages register on the computer screen in the settlement's operation room, indicating that someone might be trying to breach section 20 of the fence. A security officer scours the specified area, but does not find anything unusual.
Things return to normal, with the approval of the settlement's security coordinator, who does not arrive on the scene. No military force is alerted.
That same night, five members of the Fogel family are stabbed to death.
No one sees the terrorists slip in or out of Itamar. They walk around town undisturbed for over two hours.
Itamar is protected by guards provided by a private company, Nof Yam Security. The town's security coordinator, an IDF subordinate, is in charge of these guards. On the night of the attack, guard Yuri Antropov was securing the settlement, answering to coordinator Matanya Ben-Shitrit.
The infiltration took place at a blind spot, hidden by trees and unseen by the town's security cameras. "The area wasn't exposed because the Civil Administration objected," an element of the Samaria defense establishment said. "The IDF knows very well that it is a dead spot. I didn't ask for exposure because it wasn't something achievable." Only after the attack was the area cleared of trees.
If section 20 of the fence was under surveillance, the terrorists could have been identified. But Ben-Shitrit, the security coordinator, said that a camera was not installed because there was no one to finance it. "If the IDF agreed to install a camera here, it would have been here a long time ago," he said.
Moreover, the security guard, who arrived on the scene minutes after the alarm went off, surveyed the area using only his vehicle's head lights. He did not carry a searchlight or night vision equipment; he did not even have a flashlight with him.
According to the defense establishment element, the settlement and the regional council were supposed to equip the guards with flashlights and searchlights, while the army is supposed to provide the night vision devices.
The "smart" fence surrounding the settlement was designed to identify movements caused by touch, cutting or shaking. The computer screen registers the time of the breach, the time that the alarm was turned off by the guard, and the time that the breach was terminated.
"This case did not seem suspicious because animals sometimes touch or collide with the fence for many minutes," Antropov said.
"It was irrelevant because it was a routine occurrence," Ben-Shitrit added. "There can be a shift with 200 fence collisions caused by animals."
But a security source claimed that if the guard was properly trained, he would have realized that it wasn't an animal rocking the fence.
While the fence does not differentiate between animal and human touch, the length of the alarms should have raised suspicion. Out of the eight warning messages that registered on the screen that evening, the longest one lasted 18 seconds.
"According to a test done after the terrorist attack, it takes 10 seconds on average to get through the fence," Antropov said. "A fat tracker got past the fence with a jump, and there was a shock that lasted maybe a few seconds."
Antropov noted that he and his fellow guards did not train extensively on the fence system.
"We were ordered to treat each warning in the dead spot in the same manner, regardless of how long it lasted, by sending a patrolman out," he said. "Only after the attack did the technician explain to us the different lengths."
All of this is entirely consistent with what Itamar's mayor and his wife said in my interview with them.
The execrable Mondoweiss has a thread where they claim, based on their expert knowledge of course, that Itamar's mayor is lying, that it is impossible to climb such a fence, that there are no blind spots, and that Itamar's security was unbreakable. Comparing that thread with the YNet story is a nice lesson in how much practitioners of misoziony will cling to lies - and even still insist that it was a Jew or a foreign worker that massacred the Fogels.