Sunday, June 15, 2014
Real but Painful Progress
“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened Sunday morning's cabinet meeting with dramatic revelation over the kidnapping of three Israeli yeshiva students, saying that the Islamist terrorist group Hamas is behind the kidnapping, and vowing ‘serious consequences.’
“This morning I can say what I was unable to say yesterday before the extensive wave of arrest of Hamas members in Judea and Samaria.
“’Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths were members of Hamas – the same Hamas that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] made a unity government with; this has severe repercussions...’
“According to Palestinian media outlets affiliated with Hamas, IDF forces have already raided hundreds of houses in Hevron, Jenin, Ramallah and other cities.
“Officials said that more than 80 Hamas members were arrested overnight as part of the investigation into the kidnapping. Those detained include members of the so-called ‘unity government’ between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
“At least one of the terrorists arrested by IDF forces was apparently Hassan Yousef, a senior Hamas official.”
Reports have it that two Palestinian Arabs from Hevron who are associated with Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, are being sought. They have been missing since Thursday.
I know that low level, i.e., grassroots, intelligence is being drawn upon to the maximum in this operation. The IDF and Shin Bet have intelligence sources in Arab communities, which are being tapped regarding information about anyone who has been inexplicably absent. I make the assumption that this is how information was acquired on the two who are being actively sought.
The wives of these men were detained and questioned as to the whereabouts of their husbands.
Now, later in the day, additional information has been released (emphasis added):
“A senior IDF official told reporters Sunday afternoon that in the army's estimation, the three kidnapped teenagers taken Thursday night by still-unidentified captors are still alive, and are being held somewhere in the Judean Hills.
“We are not acting blindly and without guidance,’ the official said. ‘The IDF is thoroughly familiar with Hamas’ infrastructure in Hevron. Those involved in the kidnappings were prisoners in Israeli institutions and were released,’ which gave Israeli authorities insights and information on their terror activities.”
The IDF is in process of setting up a blockade of Hevron. No one is being let in or out of the city.
“A senior General Staff source said on Sunday that in terms of professionalism, the kidnapping is of the highest level. According to him, the IDF estimates that the abductees were not transferred to the Gaza Strip or to the Sinai, ‘but we are prepared for that option.’ He added that ‘we are employing all the special units and means to locate them.’”
And so my friends, keep praying that this operation will be a success and the boys can be rescued alive!
Hamas has labeled Netanyahu’s accusation “stupid” – a misdirected attempt to weaken the unity government.
On the surface, there are reports of PA security cooperation with regard to the search for the boys. But I remain, with solid reason, completely mistrustful of Abbas’s intentions.
Fatah, Abbas’s own party, put out on their Facebook page an obscene cartoon representing the three Jewish students as rats:
While Palestinian Media Watch has identified a vile cartoon celebrating the kidnapping that appeared in the Palestinian Authority’s daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida :
Never, ever, trust them.
There ought to be severe repercussions, indeed, as our prime minister put it, in response to what is now being assumed is a Hamas kidnapping. And I do hope that Israeli action against Hamas in Gaza will be very severe. Doubly is this the case as rockets continue to be launched from Gaza during this time - a “drizzle,” as it is sometimes called, but even one is too much. We know where their headquarters are, and their leaders.
I hope even after this kidnapping issue is resolved, arrests of Hamas-affiliated persons in Judea and Samaria will be stepped up, as well, and that all perks will be denied Hamas members in our prisons. I want to see it made it made very difficult to impossible for Hamas to operate.
We are facing radical jihadists all around us. Standing strong, very very strong, is the only reasonable response.
However, “ought to be” is the operative word here. There is often a wide gap between what should happen and what actually does happen.
Netanyahu said, in his statement this morning, that:
”Those same elements in the international community that said that the Palestinian agreement with Hamas would advance peace now see the true results of this union.”
My cynical response is, “Yea, sure.” The international community finds a way to ignore or rationalize all sorts of totally unacceptable Palestinian Arab behavior when it suits its own aims. This will be no different. Will the governments – including the US government – that had said they will “work with” the new unity government now refuse to do so? Please, do not hold your breath.
Unless I am missing something, there has been no condemnation of the kidnapping by Obama. Which is fairly incredible.
“Canada has firmly condemned last week’s Palestinian Authority terrorist kidnapping of three teenage boys but U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to say a word about the attack — even though one of the hostages is an American citizen.”
Kerry was heard from. He said he was very concerned for the students’ safety, which is not the same thing as condemning the kidnappers.
One result of this incident that we can expect is a furious reluctance here in Israel to ever again releasing terrorists from our prisons in any sort of deal. If the evidence for not doing this was not strong enough before, it stares us in the face now.
Today Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made a statement on Army Radio:
“There will be no releases for those Palestinian terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons - not as a 'gesture' and not for any other reason.”
While Tourism Minister Uzi Landau declared, “We must use an iron fist against these terrorists and not provide them with rewards for kidnapping Israelis.”
The most incredible statement released today came from Jonathan Pollard, who is in abysmal health and is denied clemency by Obama. It said:
”In the depths of Gehinom [roughly, hell], Jonathan Pollard is davening [praying] for the safe return of our 3 boys who were kidnapped on Thursday by a blood-thirsty Palestinian terrorist cell. Jonathan urges everyone to drop what you are doing and to pray urgently for the immediate rescue and safe return home of our kidnapped boys, alive, healthy and unharmed."
Amen v’amen! After the boys are brought home safe, let us direct our prayers to the release of Jonathan Pollard.