The 12-day search for three kidnapped Israeli teens ended Monday with the discovery of their bodies near the West Bank town of Hebron.
The kidnapping and murder of the three — Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16 – was perpetrated by Hamas, the terrorist network that now runs the Palestinian government in partnership with the supposedly moderate Fatah Party of Mahmoud Abbas.
The search for the teenagers was conducted while Hamas increased its rain of missiles fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilians. On Sunday, even before the boys’ bodies were found, Israeli air force jets attacked about 12 Hamas sites in Gaza believed to conceal rocket launchers and weapons factories. The Israelis responded to the discovery of the bodies by launching about three dozen more attacks on Monday night.
The rocket attacks from Gaza weren't enough to truly infuriate Israel, but the murder of the three boys has to a degree unseen in years. An increasingly desperate search to rescue them that entered over a thousand Palestinian buildings and homes, ended with a resolute statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay,” adding the teenagers “were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by human animals.”
In response, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, “Netanyahu should know that threats don't scare Hamas, and if he wages a war on Gaza, the gates of hell will open on him.” Hamas commander Khaled Mashaal reportedly telephoned Turkish President Erdogan to urge that the international community “... move quickly to halt the Zionist aggression and lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.”
Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashwari told Al Jazeera that "Israeli escalation already took place, now they have an excuse of further escalation."
Palestinians stoned the Israeli Defense Force ambulance sent to recover the boys' bodies. The reactions of Zuhri, Mashaal, Ashwari and the stone-throwers should surprise no one because they followed the established Palestinian norm, the Palestinian narrative that is accepted by the global left and its media allies. To them Israel is to be condemned for responding to deadly force with deadly force and the Palestinians held innocent of even disturbing the fictional peace process.
Some among the Western governments and media demand that the Israelis use the “opportunity” of the teenagers’ murder to try harder to reach peace with the Palestinians. The Israelis shouldn’t and won’t because the Hamas-dominated Palestinian government is threatening another terrorist upheaval.
The threat that “the gates of hell” will open on the Israelis is the threat of another “intifada,” the organized and well-coordinated terror campaigns that began in 1987 and again in 2000. Hamas, labeled a terrorist organization by our State Department since 1997, has grown in force since its last defeat in 2006's Israeli incursion into Gaza. The Egyptians believe it is a threat to them from its bases in the Sinai, but so far the promised U.S. Apache attack helicopters haven't been delivered for the Egyptians to use against it.
The Palestinian government is legitimate in the sense that the Palestinians, first in Gaza in 2006 and now with the “reconciliation government” formed this year, have elected and chosen terrorists to govern them. But its terrorist makeup makes the reconciliation government an illegitimate party to any peace negotiation, which makes the peace process so diligently pursued by President Obama illegitimate as well.
For almost six years the Obama-Kerry team has ignored the facts and the history of the Israeli-Palestinian wars and worked diligently to isolate Israel politically to satisfy Obama’s agenda. They have succeeded to a degree unknown in Israel’s history.
Facing the Hamas-Palestinians, the Hezbollah-run government of Lebanon that aims tens of thousands of missiles at Israel every day and the nascent Iranian nuclear power, Israel is alone.Jed Babbin served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration and is a senior fellow of the London Center for Policy Research. He is the author of "The BDS War Against Israel," with Herbert London.