Amar Abu-Eisha and Marwan Kawasmeh
Ron Ben-Yishai

Identifying kidnapping suspects is vindication for Netanyahu

Analysis: Shin Bet is hoping Palestinians seeking better conditions for themselves will give up two men, while prime minister is keen to show that perpetrators were indeed Hamas members.

Member of the press covering the abduction of 16-year-olds Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach had already come across the name of Marwan Kawasmeh on a Friday two weeks ago. We knew that two men were involved in the abduction, but were told they were both members of the Kawasmeh family. Some of the information about the two men had already been published, but had become lost in the mass of speculation and interpretation.



The censor was quick to block the information about the two kidnappers, since the Shin Bet was hoping to reach others involved in the abduction and use them to get more information that would lead to the boys. After all, the main purpose is to find the three teens and only afterwards find and punish the kidnappers. In the meantime, those connected to Abu-Eisha and Kawasmeh were arrested and those who weren't had escaped.


Meanwhile, the Shin Bet's assumption that the Hamas network in Hebron was responsible for the kidnapping has been confirmed. But so far the Shin Bet hasn't been successful in tracking down the abductors, who are probably still in hiding and looking for a way to escape the area when things calm down and the Israeli military operation is over.


At the current stage of the operation, when Shin Bet is still without a strong lead that could take them to the kidnappers, it is using police techniques by publishing their names and photos of their faces in the hope that someone on the Palestinian side will step up and give them away.


Unlike the Wild West, where a reward would be offered for wanted men's heads, the Shin Bet isn't offering one, but on the Palestinian street it is well known that information on the whereabouts of the kidnappers would be generously rewarded. Palestinians with a family member detained in Israel and want better conditions for him and for themselves may be tempted to come forward and provide the Shin Bet with information. This is the main reasoning behind the move.


Publishing the names and photos of the kidnappers also serves Israel's public diplomacy, mainly for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, because it proves it was Hamas who is responsible for the abduction of the three boys, and not some random act by otherwise innocent Palestinians who acted on impulse.


This is exactly what Netanyahu needed to turn public opinion in Europe and the US against the reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which hasn't changed its terrorist ways.


An additional motive for releasing the identity of the abductors is to prove that the Shin Bet is making progress and not groping in the dark. But, as often happens, the breakthrough hasn't been achieved yet and therefore the Shin Bet is constantly shifting its methods and continues to work tirelessly.


Within the Shin Bet itself there are quite a few people who are disappointed by the lack of meaningful progress in the search, but they, of all people, know that this is a process that can take weeks, months and even years.


פרסום ראשון: 06.27.14, 00:30
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