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June 15, 2014 10:41 am

Netanyahu Says Hamas Kidnapped Israeli Teens, Pledges ‘Severe Repercussions’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Prime Minister Netanyahu at his government's weekly cabinet meeting, in Jerusalem. Photo: Screenshot.

Prime Minister Netanyahu at his government's weekly cabinet meeting, in Jerusalem. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday blamed Hamas for the kidnapping of three teenagers, two Israeli and one American, after a wave of 80 arrests, as Israeli police drew a wide net to find the missing students before Hamas could move them to Gaza or elsewhere. Referring to the recently inked unity deal between Hamas and Fatah, Netanyahu said the kidnappers’ actions would have “severe repercussions.”

At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said, “This morning I can say what I was unable to say yesterday before the extensive wave of arrests of Hamas members in Judea and Samaria.”

“Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths were members of Hamas – the same Hamas that Abu Mazen made a unity government with; this has severe repercussions.”

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In a separate statement, Netanyahu said: “Hamas terrorists carried out Thursday’s kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. We know that for a fact. These teenagers were kidnapped and the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas members. Hamas denials do not change this fact. And this attack should surprise no one because Hamas makes no secret of its agenda. Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and to carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians – including children.”

He said that because of the unity pact between Hamas and Fatah to govern the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government must hold the PA responsible for this kidnapping:

“Instead of abiding by his international obligation to disarm Hamas, President Abbas has chosen to make Hamas his partner. Israel holds the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas responsible for any attacks against Israel that emanate from Palestinian-controlled territory,” he said. “The Palestinian claim that the Palestinian Authority cannot be held responsible for an attack that took place in an area under Israeli security control is patently absurd.”

“When an attack takes place in Tel Aviv or in London or in New York – all these places have been attacked by terrorists – the question is not where the attack takes place. The question is where it originated,” he said. “The kidnappers in this case set out from territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and the PA cannot absolve itself of its responsibility.”

“I believe that the dangers of that pact now should be abundantly clear to all. We have seen since the signing of that pact an increase in terrorist activity emanating from the West Bank. We have seen Hamas strengthen its presence there, and this increases the likelihood that Hamas will take control of the Palestinian Authority, precisely as it did in Gaza. This will not advance peace; it will advance terror.”

Netanyahu, who said that he had been in contact with the families of the missing teens, said. “Israel will act in all ways under its province, in all ways under our control, to bring home the three kidnapped teenagers. Israel will act against the kidnappers and their terrorist sponsors and comrades. We will do whatever needs to be done to protect our people, our citizens, our children and our teenagers from the scourge of terrorism.”

The three teenagers   Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16  were last seen on Thursday night near Gush Etzion.

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