The Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Police are making untiring efforts to locate the three kidnapped teenagers and those responsible for their abduction. Let us hope these efforts bear fruit soon, and that the necessary lessons are drawn from the event and are implemented. But it seems that, alongside focusing our intelligence and military abilities on the main effort, there are those who see this kidnapping as an opportunity to engage in underhanded opportunism.
These creative minds, mostly operating from within the government, are full of crazy ideas: Swift approval of a bill to prevent pardons for prisoners – a bill whose stupidity is now becoming clear; complete severance of relations with the Palestinian Authority; expelling dozens, if not hundreds, of Hamas members from the West Bank to Gaza; demolishing homes; imposing a total curfew on West Bank and Gaza's cities, and more. Alongside these ideas, the government is accelerating a bill for the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners and – to top it all – Habayit Hayehudi MKs are expressing their support for annexing territory to Israel.
These ideas have nothing to do with our ability to find the kidnap victims. At best, they are the growing expression of a desire for vengeance against the Palestinian people. At worst, they are cynical exploitation, fulfilling the urges of those who wish to destroy the peace process. They are endeavoring to turn the abductions into a seminal moment that will redefine Israel’s relations with the Palestinians and their leaders. These ideas and their proponents create a common link between them and the terrorists: both seek to use the abduction to undermine any chance of a diplomatic solution.
This wave did not come from nowhere. It came against the backdrop of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence that the PA and President Mahmoud Abbas should now be seen as hostile forces. He preaches this attitude even though Abbas and the PA’s security forces have continued to coordinate with Israel’s own forces, helping Israel as much as they can. At this point, there could not be a harsher blow to Israel’s security than placing a dartboard on our Palestinian partner’s chest.
The PA did not abduct the teens, and at this stage it is unclear if the Hamas leadership in Gaza approved the kidnapping or knew about it. The telephone call to Netanyahu that Abbas initiated yesterday, and the condemnation he issued following the call, should make it clear to the prime minister that the PA is a partner to Israel’s security interest. The government must halt the dangerous initiatives emerging from within, in order not to escalate the situation.
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