Israel Detains 40 Hamas Leaders in Kidnapped Teens Search

Islamists Face 'Ticket to Hell' in West Bank

getty images

By Reuters

Published June 17, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli forces detained more than 40 Hamas militants on Tuesday, the military said, in a West Bank crackdown on the Islamist group that is being conducted in tandem with a search for three missing teenagers.

Israel blames Hamas for the abduction of the Jewish seminary students, who went missing last Thursday. The Islamist movement, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, has neither claimed nor denied responsibility for the kidnapping.

Since the disappearance of Gil-Ad Shaer and U.S.-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both aged 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, Israeli raids have spread from house-to-house searches though darkened homes in Hebron, a Hamas stronghold, to other parts of the occupied West Bank.

“We are turning Hamas membership into a ticket to hell,” Naftali Bennett, a far-right member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told army radio on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Information Ministry accused Israel of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinians in the territory. “An entire population is being held hostage to the whims of the Israeli occupation,” it said.

The Israeli military said it had detained 41 Hamas militants in overnight raids, raising to more than 200 the number arrested since Friday. Israel officials acknowledged the operation was two-fold - finding the missing teenagers and weakening Hamas.

Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who signed a unity government deal with Hamas in April, has condemned both the kidnapping and the Israeli raids.

FIVE PALESTINIANS WOUNDED

Mirroring scenes played out in other Palestinian communities in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers filed through a street of shuttered homes and shops in the town of Jenin on Tuesday, throwing stun grenades and firing rubber bullets at Palestinian stone-throwers who confronted them.

Israeli and Palestinian security sources said soldiers and police had wounded five Palestinians in Jenin and in clashes near the towns of Ramallah and Nablus.

In Gaza, Israel bombed four militant targets early on Tuesday in response to rocket fire at southern Israel. There were no reported casualties in these incidents.

Netanyahu’s security cabinet was scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday to weigh further measures against Hamas.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they could include deporting West Bank Hamas leaders to Gaza.

On Monday, Netanyahu said the effort to retrieve the three teenagers, who disappeared while hitchhiking in the West Bank, was complicated and that Israelis “must be prepared for the possibility it could take time”.

Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli general, said the lack of progress in finding the teens, six days after they disappeared, signaled that the chances of finding them were dwindling.

But Eiland said the abductions had provided an opportunity to target Hamas in operations that could sabotage the new Palestinian unity government, which Israel shuns and whose formation it cited in freezing peace talks with Abbas in April.

“The fragile links between the (Abbas-led Palestinian) Authority and Hamas could become more of a crack,” Eiland said on Israel Radio, a day after the Islamist group condemned as a “knife in the back” PA security cooperation with Israel.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.