Written by Emily Gian. Media and Advocacy Director, Zionist Federation of Australia..
It has now been twelve days since three Israeli teens, Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel were kidnapped in Gush Etzion while making their way home from their respective Yeshivot. The search, being coordinated by the IDF is entering into its 11th day. IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said,
“We are combining actions on the ground aimed at locating Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, and systematically targeting Hamas’ terrorists and its civilian support system”.
The IDF has searched over 1,350 locations and have arrested 340 suspects including 250 who are associated with Hamas. At least 50 Hamas terrorists that were released from Israeli prisoners as a part of deal to free Gilad Shalit in 2011 have also been arrested. These prisoners had signed a document upon their release vowing to live up to a set of conditions, which they have since violated.
For those who may suggest that these terrorists with blood on their hands might have reformed, one only has to look Monday’s indictment on Hamas terrorist, Ziad Awad, who opened fire on Israeli vehicles on the eve of Passover this year and murdered Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi, injuring two others as well. This is the sad and bittersweet reality of Israel; returning terrorists with so much Israeli blood already on their hands, only for them to be released and cause more heartache.
Baruch Mizrachi’s wife Hadas has called for the death penalty for Ziad, saying that these terrorists live in “hotel conditions” in jail. She said,
“A punishment that does not deter will cause a terrorist to repeat his actions”.
At the same time, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal gave an interview for the first time since the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens. He denied Hamas’ involvement but said,
“if there will be a confirmation that a Palestinian group is behind the kidnapping – we should applaud and take off our hats to them”
He said he
“blesses the hands of those who kidnapped them, since the Palestinian prisoners should be released from the Israeli prisons”.
It really is a sick game where these terrorist leaders know what price Israel has been willing to pay in the past, and now we know what these terrorists are capable of doing once they are released.
Yesterday the UN Security Council held its monthly meeting on the Middle East. The UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman said,
“As the search for the missing youth continues, we call for restraint in carrying out the security operations in strict compliance with international law, and avoiding punishing individuals for offences they have not personally committed”.
The group was unable to agree on a statement condemning the kidnappings. Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, who has been extremely vocal about the virtual silence of the international community since the kidnapping stated,
“Some nations behave as if Israel should roll out the welcome mat for Hamas. Israel will not allow this terrorist group to trample on its citizens. Israelis are acting in self-defence to defend our nation from the terrorist networks that surround us”.
While I am, as usual, not particularly surprised by the UN call for Israeli restraint, I wonder what other civilised country in this world would allow their citizens to be kidnapped, or have rockets fired at them on a daily basis, without at some point biting back.
The mother of Naftali Frenkel has flown out to Geneva today and will appear before the UN Human Rights Council tomorrow, where she will appeal for their rapid release.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas last week called for the release of the three boys. While we have become accustomed to Abbas’ brand of doublespeak, saying one thing to an English audience and another in Arabic, he actually spoke up at the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers saying
“those who carried out the kidnappings want to destroy us”.
“The three teens are human beings like us and they should be returned to their families”.
Whilst we know that Abbas has a vested interested in wanting the boys to come home, namely foreign aid and staying in favour with western leaders, it was nonetheless interesting to hear him say it in Arabic.
With all of this going on, the IDF has not only had to contend with continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, but on Sunday an anti-tank missile was fired from Syria into Israel’s north, killing 13-year-old Israeli Arab Mohammad Karaka, who was travelling in the car with his father on his first day of the summer holidays. Mohammad’s murder is a reminder that terrorists do not discriminate between Jew and Arab. May Mohammad’s memory be a blessing to his family and all that knew him.
The Israeli Air Force struck at nine Syrian military targets. At the moment Israel is under attack on three different fronts, in three different ways.
We will continue to bring you information about the ongoing developments. In the meantime, please hold Gilad, Eyal and Naftali in your thoughts and prayers and join the social media campaign by using the hashtags #EyalGiladNaftali and #BringBackOurBoys.