Ramon's Blog

The Fallout From Premeditated Barbarianism



Part One: Rounding up Hamas

On June 12 around 10:30 at night, three teenagers, Gilad Sha’ar, aged 16, Naftali Fraenkel, also aged 16, and Eyal Yifrach, aged 19, went missing from a hitchhiking station where they were trying to get rides home after finishing religious studies in their schools in the West Bankbiblical Judea and Samaria. One of the 16-year-olds tried to make an emergency phone call and whispered “I’m being kidnapped,” but the police, who receive hundreds of prank calls thought it was just another practical joke; apart from repeatedly asking where the caller was, they did nothing. Almost five hours later the father of one of the teenagers arrived at the police station. He reported his son as missing.

It was to be three more hours before Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a massive 20,000-person search named Operation Brothers Keepersin an attempt to find the boys, but the terrorists had a seven-hour start. The city of Hebron was hermetically sealed off by the IDF and soldiers went house to house searching for the teenagers; they checked every cellar, attic, shed, and even the caves in the area; some were searched two or three times. Two known Hamas operatives, who had spent time in Israeli prisons for terror related crimes against Israel, were the prime suspects and they were missing from their homes. They have yet to be apprehended four weeks later.

    Hundreds of Hamas operatives throughout the West Bank, including members of the Hamas government, were arrested and interrogated by the IDF as it searched for the boys. Numerous weapons’ caches were uncovered, including machine guns, hand guns, explosives, and hand grenades. The arrests were Israel’s way of hitting back at Hamas whom Prime Minister Netanyahu and IDF intelligence categorically blamed for being behind the kidnappings. Hamas is recognized as a terror organization by Israel, America, and the EU and Israel claimed to have hard evidenceof Hamas’s guilt and even to the extent of knowing which group within Hamas carried out the abductions.

Some 54 Palestinians that had been freed in Israel’s last prisoner swap in October 2011 were rearrested for having transgressed the terms of their release, which they had signed at the time of their release. This has since brought a flurry of bills before the Knesset aiming to limit the power of presidential pardons. If the bills pass, future releases would make released prisoners as only being out on parole; this the lawmakers want to anchor into Israel basic law. Other bills before the Knesset will limit prisoner swaps to a one for one basis rather than the ridiculous lop-sided swaps Israel has made in the past.

Israel’s last prisoner swap in October 2011 released 1,027 Palestinian terrorists for a lone Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, whom Hamas held for five years and four months. Swapping Palestinian terrorists for kidnapped Israelis only spurred more kidnapping attempts and Israeli security forces have had to work overtime in order to foil them. Following the lop-sided Schalit deal two wealthy Saudi businessmen independently made open-ended offers of one million dollars to anyone who can kidnap an Israeli for use as a bargaining chip for releasing Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails. Such incentives helped spawn hundreds of kidnapping attempts against Israelis.

Hamas denied it had anything to do with the abduction of the three teenagers, but it applauded those who carried it out. Hamas extracted more than a thousand prisoners from Israel in the Schalit deal and it has made no secret of the fact that it intends to kidnap more Israelis in order to facilitate similar deals. This, then, was the underlying motive for abducting the innocent teens. Hamas even produced posters showing a look-alike Israeli in IDF uniform, claiming the kidnapped boys were all soldiers, thus legitimizing their abduction. Throughout the Palestinian street a three-finger salute became the mode; it was everywhere, on posters, on hoardings, even on Palestinian television. An Arab member of Israel’s Knesset, Haneen Zoabi of the Balad party, raised Israeli hackles when she said that the Hamas kidnappers were not terrorists, that they are forced “to resort to these measures until Israel sobers up a bit.” And when two other Arab members of the Knesset, Afu Agbaria of the Hadash party and Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka, also went on record arguing that Hamas was neither a terror organization nor was the Palestinian struggle terrorism, that it was “just a struggle to right an historical wrong,” the Israeli public showed little patience and called for all three Arab members of Knesset to be removed from their posts. Israeli police recommended that criminal investigations be opened against them.

To be continued

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