A Hamas Leader Admits to
Kidnapping of 3 Israeli Teenagers
According to a report by Noah Browning, a Senior Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri has admitted that its organization kidnapped the three Israeli teens, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel, in mid-June. In the article, he was quoted as saying:
“The popular will was exercised throughout our occupied land, and culminated in the heroic operation by the Qassam Brigades in imprisoning the three settlers in Hebron,” he said, referring to Hamas’s armed wing.” In addition, he also said that
“This was an operation from your brothers in Qassam undertaken to aid their brothers on hunger strike in (Israeli) prisons.”
This is a change from previous statements that they either outright denied their involvement, or said that they were not involved, but did not condemn the actions.
However, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal continued to deny that Hamas was responsible.
When one hears something like this, one cannot help but think about the teenagers, and their families, who have had to suffer through such a horrible ordeal.
As the international community has called for a probe into war crimes for Israeli and Hamas actions during the conflict, and rightly so, given the thousands of Gazan citizens killed, those who carried out this kidnapping and killing should also be held responsible for such a reprehensible action. We should always remember that human beings have the right to live in complete freedom, and should never have to worry about their personal safety being violated. And we should speak out, advocating ideas of peace and love, and standing strongly against any actions that take the lives of innocent human beings who had nothing to do with the political conflict.
Again, this admission by the Hamas figure in no way justifies Israel’s continued killings of Gazan citizens. But those behind these acts must be held accountable in an international court. Such kidnappings of course should always be condemned, and we as an international community must continue to speak out against the taking of human lives.
One other point that we have to keep in mind, and that is there is diversity within organizations, and that sometimes all top figures of organizations may not be able to control actions of some within the groups. Again, it is not possible to know whether Meshaal knew about this. It will be interesting to see if members acted outside of Meshaal’s knowledge, if he knew then, of afterwards, about the kidnappings and killings. Often times people seem to discuss organizations as unified actors. Many times there is a hierarchy or chain of command, but many times, you have divergent groups and actors within a “singular” group. Again, we don’t know if this is the case here in terms of who knew what, but it is something to keep watching.