An announcement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he laid explicit blame for the recent abduction of three Israeli teenagers on Hamas operatives, was meant to serve two purposes: to put pressure on Hamas and attack Palestinian reconciliation.
Israel has already started taking steps to pressure and punish people and areas in Gaza and the West Bank that are offering political supporting or being controlled by Hamas. Security forces have enforced an effective barricade on the areas around Hebron and Judea preventing 5,000 Palestinians from reaching work in Israel while also forbidding the passage of Palestinians under the age of 50 from traveling to Jordan from the West Bank.
These, and other efforts, including the closure of crossings to Gaza at Erez and Kerem Shalom as well as attacks on training facilities and rocket storage used by Hamas in Gaza, are meant to exert pressure on Hamas and its leadership (and of course to complicate movement of the abducted Israeli youths), despite the fact that concrete evidence connecting the leadership of Hamas to the abduction has yet to surface.
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And the pressure is heavy. For example, in the afternoon there was almost no traffic of trucks transporting goods at the Tarqumia checkpoint. The crossing is usually known for being noisy and backed-up.
The closure prevents stone and marble merchants from Hebron from exporting their goods - and that's the most significant economic measures being enforced by Israel. Every container of stone that doesn't reach Ashdod for export translates into a loss of tens of thousands of dollars.
The pressure is mainly designed to have a psychological effect. The Palestinian population that suffers from these measures is more likely to give up intelligence information than those outside of the affected areas. Blatantly placing blame on Hamas is meant to allow Israel to act on these measures immediately without losing international legitimization.
The second goal is state propaganda. From the beginning it was clear that Netanyahu was and would continue to use the abduction as grounds to continue his attacks against Palestinian reconciliation, but more importantly, the real goal is to erode the prestige and status that Abu Mazen so readily receives from governments in America and Europe.
"The blame game" that began during the last round of peace talks continues today and the kidnapping serves as ammunition, giving it momentum.
The need of the prime minister and his cabinet to win international legitimization in putting pressure on Hamas and the Palestinians in order to force the release of the abducted teens is clear and justified. However, the exertion from Netanyahu in order to discredit Abu Mazen isn't justified and isn't smart.
Abu Mazen isn't responsible for the abduction even if it was carried out by Hamas, with whom he is managing the process of reconciliation and unity.
Area 'A', which is currently under control of the Palestinian Authority and from where the boys were most likely taken, isn't really under Abbas' control. In reality, the territory is under Israel's control, lawfully, practically, and security-wise.
When the IDF enters Nablus or Ramallah in order to arrest Palestinians, which it does almost every week, it does so by the authority of Israel's occupying force in charge of security in the area while supporting joint security agreements with the Palestinians.
The IDF enters the area without delay or inhibition. Therefore, Abu Mazen is no more responsible than Israel for the prevention of kidnappings or hostilities.
Palestinian security forces began an operation to restrain Hamas operatives well before the abduction last week through arrests and investigations. This didn't happen as a result of Zionist propaganda attacks. Instead, the operation began because Hamas members began behaving in the West Bank as they behaved in Gaza.
Their actions threatened Abu Mazen's control over the PA and his people responded aggressively.
An additional and unworthy reason that Netanyahu has attacked Abu Mazen is the fact that he and Israel have a joint interest at the moment: exposing the kidnappers and returning the abducted boys to their homes. When you want true security cooperation, you can't blame your partner for committing the crime.
Netanyahu's cries of accusation leveled at Abu Mazen for the abduction aren't smart or justified. This campaign ought to be taken off of the prime minister's daily schedule. It would be better to focus on intelligence efforts in finding the victims of the abduction rather than trying to make ourselves additional enemies.