Israel And US Blame Kidnapping On Hamas
The three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank still have not been recovered. The three boys, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, were going home from their school in Gush Etzion. The teenagers were attempting to hitchhike along the highway connecting the West Bank settlements of Kfar Etsiyon, Efrat and Migdal Oz.
The Israeli government and Secretary of State John Kerry have blamed terrorist group Hamas for the abduction.
The day before the boys were kidnapped, Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, welcomed Hamas into the Palestinian Authority government. Ashton has often used her speaking opportunities to strike out at Israel for taking action against terrorists, but it was five days before she denounced the kidnapping of the three teenage boys.
The highway where the boys were last seen is a prominent hitchhiking spot for Israelis, but the area has also become quieter in recent years, making it prone to illegal and crime activities.
US Condemns Kidnapping of The Teenagers
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and called for their immediate release.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.” – Secretary Kerry
The US is offering support for Israel in its search for the missing teenagers and for their prompt return.
Secretary Kerry said indications point to Hamas’ involvement in the abductions.
He reiterated that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.
Israel captured East Jerusalem along with the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War in 1967, but annexed the city as its united capital in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of their future State.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September last year following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity. That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.