Hamas Says ‘Keeping All Options Open’ as Israel Ratchets Up Search for Abducted Teens
“All options of the Palestinian resistance remain open,” a Hamas official vowed Monday, as Israel strove to find and free three teens kidnapped Thursday near Hebron.
“We warn the Zionists against committing any more stupidities, including their violations of international laws by their arresting of the Parliament speaker,” spokesman Mushir al-Masri said from Gaza.
Israeli security forces have, so far, arrested over 150 Palestinians, including all of the Hamas representatives in the newly formed Palestinian Unity Government, led by Palestinian Authority (PA) President and once-rival Fatah chief, Mahmoud Abbas.
“The resistance is the only route to freeing the prisoners,” al-Masri said of those incarcerated in Israeli prisons for security offences, primarily for committing and planning terror attacks.
“The lives of the three (Israeli teens) are not worth those of the 5,000” prisoners, al-Masri said, referring to Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, who were abducted from a hitchhiking post in Gush Etzion south of Bethlehem and are believed to be held captive somewhere in the southern West Bank.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday demanded that Abbas “assist in returning the abducted youths and in apprehending the kidnappers. The Hamas kidnappers came from territory under Palestinian Authority control and returned to territory under Palestinian Authority control.”
For his part, however, Abbas said in a statement that “the Palestinian leadership condemns the series of events,” going on to mention both the abductions and “a series of Israeli violations.”
The two leaders have rarely spoken.
Charging that the abductions “exposes the true face of the terrorism that we are fighting against,” Netanyahu said that “Terrorists abduct innocent Israeli children while we save the lives of ill Palestinian children in our hospitals.”
“This is the difference between our humanitarian policy and the murderous terrorism that is attacking us,” the PM said.
“The consequences of the partnership with Hamas” are “bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for the region,” Netanyahu concluded, in a statement sent to reporters.