With the bodies being found of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped by Hamas, the verbal response from Israel indicated a militaristic response would be coming for the terrorists behind the killings. “Hamas is responsible – and Hamas will pay,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office.
The IDF Twitter page reported that as of Monday evening they were still on the hunt for the two terrorists behind the murders. Israel vowed to bring them to justice, and multiple world leaders backed that effort.
Outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres said in a statement, “Along with our deep sense of loss we remain committed to bringing the terrorists to justice. Our resolve in the fight against terror will only strengthen and we will ensure that murderous terrorism of this sort will not dare to rear its head again.”
For what was at least an initial round, Israel struck 34 terror targets in Gaza according to the IDF Twitter page, although the IDF said that was in response to the 18 rockets fired at Israel since Sunday night.
Israel wasn’t alone in their shock and anger at the killings of the three teens, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel. The leaders of the US and UK both expressed their condemnations of the murders.
US President Barack Obama, in a statement posted on the White House website, noted that Israel has “the full support and friendship of the United States.” He further noted they condemn “strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron offered similar sentiments in a statement posted to his office’s website. “This was an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers. Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those responsible.
“Tonight my thoughts and prayers are with the families of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal. No parent should have ever to suffer such heartache or grief.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry pointed out that Naftali was a US citizen, saying that “the killing of innocent youths is an outrage beyond any understanding or rationale, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
However, both Kerry and Obama encouraged that justice be sought without “destabilizing the situation.”
It may already be too late for that, because before Israel even found the bodies, terror groups in Gaza had already unleashed an intensified rocket fire on Israel. The IDF was responding to the rockets, and any additional Israeli military action to seek justice on those responsible for the teen killings will likely prompt more Gaza attacks.
In other words, Hamas and other terrorists may escalate things and force Israel’s hand.
But for now, Israel is mourning. Said Netanyahu, “On behalf of the entire Jewish People, I would like to tell the dear families – the mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and brothers and sisters – we are deeply saddened, the entire nation weeps with you.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 1, 2014)