"What happens if you respond, will America do something to you?’’ challenged Tamar Fogel, the couple's 12-year-old daughter, when Netanyahu paid a condolence visit. She was not at home at the time of the attack, which two of her brothers also survived.
Though the peace process has been moribund for nearly six months, the announcement is expected to strengthen Palestinian resolve to refuse to talk amid settlement construction. That is likely to dim the prospects for a new Netanyahu diplomatic initiative for an interim peace accord, which would establish a Palestinian state on temporary borders – leaving the sensitive issue of final borders to be discussed later.
A dispute over Israel's refusal to stop building in the West Bank stymied talks in the fall after Israel ended a 10-month settlement freeze in September 2010.
"This makes a bad situation worse," says Yossi Alpher, the co-editor of Bitterlemons.org, an Israeli-Palestinian online opinion forum. "This attack allows him to fortify his coalition even more from the right."