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Kidnapped Teens

Netanyahu and Balir. Photo: Chaim Tzah, GPO
Netanyahu and Balir. Photo: Chaim Tzah, GPO
 
 

Netanyahu urges international community to condemn Hamas

Hamas is 'not only committed to murdering Israelis, it's committed to kidnapping children,' the prime minister tells Quartet representative Tony Blair.

Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy
Published: 06.17.14, 21:38 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the international community on Tuesday to condemn Hamas, and call on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dismantle his unity government with the Islamist movement.

 

 

"The brutal abduction of three Israeli teenagers shows the true face of Hamas," Netanyahu told Quartet representative Tony Blair.

 

"It's not only committed to murdering Israelis, it's committed to kidnapping children."

 

 

Three Israeli teens - Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel, both 16 - were taken from a hitchhiking stop in Gush Etzion on Thursday evening. Netanyahu has placed the blame for the kidnapping on Hamas, and laid the responsibility on Abbas, who formed a unity government with the Islamic movement. 

 

"Anybody who supports peace must tell the Palestinian Authority that they cannot build a government that is backed by the kidnappers of children and the murderers of innocents," Netanyahu went on.

 

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Blair obliged Netanyahu, condemning the abduction.

 

"I'd like to express my outrage at what has happened, the kidnap of three young people, and to express my deepest sympathy to their families at this moment who must be going through a great deal of agony and grief, and as well as expressing the complete condemnation of the international community towards this abduction," Blair said.

 

The only way to achieve peace, he said, is if "all parts of Palestinian politics are committed to peaceful means and to the recognition that we'll only have peace based on two states."

 

For Hamas, Blair went on, it meant that "they have a very clear choice to make. There cannot be a choice that has a political engagement on the one hand and violence on the other, and the only way this is ever going to work is if all violence stops – the terrorism, the kidnappings, the killings."

 

The kidnapping received condemnation in the European Union already on Sunday, when 25 European parliamentarians meeting in Budapest urged the Palestinian Authority to help bring the teens home.

 

"We condemn in the strongest terms the recent kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and demand the PA to actively assist in securing their safe return," a statement issued by the legislators during the Israel Allies Foundation 2014 European Summit read.

 

The European Union itself issued a condemnation on Tuesday, calling for the immediate release of the teens and their safe return to their families.

 

"Such acts can only undermine international efforts to encourage a resumption of peace negotiations," a statement read. "We are following developments closely and remain in constant contact with our Israeli and Palestinian counterparts."

 

Upon leaving another situation assessment with the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the military operation to finding the kidnapped teens and capturing the kidnappers was still ongoing.

 

"As far as we're concerned, this complex operation is not limited in time or place, so patience is important," he said.

 

"Large forces are out on the field to continue the search, and at the same time make arrests of Hamas operatives and damage the organization's infrastructure in Judea and Samaria," Ya'alon continued, vowing that Hamas "will pay a heavy price for the kidnapping."

 

"We're in the midst of a complex operation to capture the terrorists and bring the teens home safely. We're fighting Hamas, a vicious terror organization and the battle against them is ongoing and won't end soon," OC Central Command Nitzan Alon said Tuesday.

 

"We're hitting Hamas in every aspect. The Hamas leaders are feeling the blow very well and are getting the message. Hamas will come out of this confrontation weakened both strategically and operationally. We'll continue weakening them for as long as it takes."

 

A senior army official said Tuesday that the IDF was considering continuing the closures and siege on cities in the West Bank well into the month of Ramadan that starts in less than two weeks.

 

"This is not a red line for us. You have to remember one million Palestinians entered Israel during Ramadan last year. The Palestinians know that there is a distinction between terror and civilian population and we even feel a decline in clashes because there are more troops on the ground."

 

For the first time since the three teens were kidnapped, most of the military wings of the Palestinian factions held a press conference on Tuesday night in Gaza.

 

While none had claimed responsibility, they praised the abductors in their mission to free Palestinian prisoners.

 

"The West Bank is doing its holy duty in the confrontation with the enemy," representatives of most of the military wings in the Strip, including that of Hamas, said.

 

They threatened to open another front in Gaza if Israel continues its military operation in the West Bank.

 

"We won't sit idly while Israel continues its operation," they said.

 

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