International Mayors Conference in Israel Condemns Kidnappings; Netanyahu Vows Hamas to ‘Pay a Heavy Price’
The 29th International Mayors Conference met in Israel on Wednesday where the group issued a harsh condemnation of Hamas for kidnapping three Jewish teens six days ago.
The mayors presented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an open letter condemning the abductions of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel and calling for their immediate release.
Netanyahu used his address at the forum to thanks Israel’s security forces for their rapid reaction overnight, when some 50 Hamas soldiers were arrested, and vowed that the terrorist organization that rules Gaza “will continue to pay a heavy price” for the kidnappings.
“Last night, the IDF and the ISA put dozens of Hamas terrorists back in prison including some who were released in the framework of the agreement to return Gilad Shalit,” Netanyahu said.
“I praise the soldiers and commanders – from the IDF, ISA and the Israel Police. They have done, and are doing, excellent work. As soon as the Cabinet made its decision, they successfully carried out this complicated mission in less than a day,” the prime minister said.
“We are in the midst of a wide-ranging operation,” he said. “It will yet include many actions against the terrorists that attack, murder and kidnap Israeli citizens and want to destroy the State of Israel.”
“We are fighting terrorism and Hamas will continue to pay a heavy price for abducting Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, the three youths who were on their way home to their parents,” Netanyahu told the mayors.
Sponsored by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the union of Local Authorities and the American Council for World Jewry, the conference included mayors from Berlin, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires, Sarajevo, Marseille, Nice, Entebbe and many other cities around the world.
In their signed letter, the mayors said: “We, the undersigned mayors from the cities representing diverse communities around the world, call on any and all involved in the disappearance of the three Israeli boys Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach – to release them immediately, without conditions and safely return them to their families.”
The letter they “were all saddened and deeply disappointed to learn of the boys’ abduction as kidnapping as well as taking hostages is a violation of the international law,” and that it was their “firm belief that at no time and under no circumstance should children become the victims of such an inhumane and unjust way of action.”
“As adults, we have a moral responsibility to protect all children and ensure their safety and security,” the letter said. “Again, with that in mind, we call on all involved to immediately release, without conditions and safely return the three boys.”