Tourism Minister Uzi Landau has accused the US government of being an accessory to terror. Landau cites the US’s recent endorsement of the Hamas-Fatah unity government as a main contributor to the rise in recent terror attacks and attempts against Israel.
Speaking after news of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists became public, Landau said the abduction of the teens was a direct result of the new Palestinian government.
“Unfortunately, with the establishment of the Abbas-Hamas government, we warned of the harm the Israeli public may suffer, and unfortunately our predictions were confirmed,” Landau stated. “This act reveals the true face of the terror government led by Mahmoud Abbas.”
In a statement released on Sunday by his office, Landau said, “The willingness of the US administration to effectively recognize the Abbas-Hamas government causes damage to the security of Israel’s citizens and encourages terror.”
On Thursday night, Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16 and a dual American-Israeli citizen, were abducted by terrorists while hitchhiking near Hebron. The teens were on their way home from school to celebrate the Sabbath with their families.
US officials kept quiet on the kidnapping and only commented on the situation on Sunday afternoon. US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the kidnappings and called for the immediate release of the teens.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home. We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services,” Kerry stated.
“We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement,” he added. “As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.”
Kerry refused to comment on the fact that an American citizen was one of the three kidnapped. A petition on was created on June 14 on the White House website, demanding the release of Naftali Frenkel.
The petition states that the US government is responsible “to ensure the safe and timely return of its citizen and son, Naftali Frenkel…We demand that President Barack Obama and his administration use all the means necessary to assist the Israeli government in their efforts to locate these captive children…”
The IDF has launched a massive manhunt throughout Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria, concentrating most of their efforts in Hebron. Palestinians in Gaza took to the streets in celebration of the news of the kidnapped boys, handing out sweets and cookies to passerby’s.
Late Sunday night, IDF forces arrested over 40 Hamas operatives, including a senior Hamas lawmaker. The arrests followed similar raids that took place the day before, in which 80 Palestinians, including several Hamas officials, were taken into custody by Israeli security forces.
According to the IDF, some 150 Palestinians have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping. Israel Radio reported that IDF raids took place late Sunday and early Monday in the areas of Jenin, Hebron and Ramallah. Soldiers have also been combing the hills of Judea and Samaria, checking caves for any sign of the boys who may have been hidden there by terrorists.
IDF Paratroopers Search for Kidnapped Teenagers
“IDF efforts are focused on enabling operational capabilities, enhancing intelligence and influencing those that participated, are involved or have knowledge of the whereabouts of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach,” army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who officially confirmed on Sunday that Hamas was behind the kidnappings, despite the terror organizations denial, vowed that he would do all he can to bring the boys home.
Israel has imposed a complete closure on Hebron as part of efforts to hunt down the terrorists responsible behind the abduction. Latest intelligence reports indicate that the boys are still in Hebron.
Prayer rallies have been held all across Israel as the nation unites to pray for the safe return of the boys. On Saturday and Sunday night, thousands of people gathered at the Western Wall to recite Psalms and beseech God to bring the boys home. Social media campaigns have exploded across Facebook and Twitter, calling attention to the abduction of the boys. The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys allows social media users to find out the latest news on the teens and send out calls to prayer.