The bodies of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah were found today near Hebron. The Times of Israel reports that authorities believe the three teenagers were murdered shortly after they were kidnapped by Hamas operatives on June 12:
The prevailing assessment within the defense establishment is that the kidnappers, at least at first, only saw one of the hitchikers, perhaps Yifrach, who did not know Shaar and Fraenkel. Only once the kidnappers’ Hyundai i35 came to a stop did the kidnappers realize that they would be outnumbered by their hostages within the small confines of the car. This may be what changed the nature of the crime from kidnapping to murder, security sources suggested.
Inside the Hyundai, Israel alleges, were Hamas terrorists Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme.
Recognizing, too late, that the car was not an innocent Israeli vehicle, one of the teens called the police at 10:25 p.m. and whispered, “We’ve been kidnapped.” The call was transferred immediately to a senior female officer, who continued to ask questions but received no reply. The call lasted for 2:09 minutes and was then cut off. The officer called the number eight more times, but received three busy signals and reached voicemail five times.
The kidnappers, apparently realizing that a call had been made, shot the three teens dead soon afterwards in the backseat of the car, military sources said.
Reportedly, Arabs stoned the ambulance that carried away the bodies of the three boys. This is said to be a photograph of the ambulance:
President Obama issued a statement that included a condemnation of “this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.” I have no interest in dissecting such formalistic pronouncements, or in blaming anyone but the terrorists for what happened to the three Israeli teenagers, one of whom had dual American citizenship. But acts of terror are not “senseless.” On the contrary, terrorism has been the linchpin of the strategy followed by Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the Palestinian people generally. One can debate how successful the terrorist strategy has been, but it has never been senseless. It is rational, calculated and evil.
At last word, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cabinet were deliberating a forceful response to the murders, as well as Hamas’s continuing missile bombardment of Israel. My own view, as I have said before, is that Israel should annex the “West Bank,” which is to say, the heart of historic Israel, Judea and Samaria. I don’t see any other way to put the menace of Islamic terrorism to rest, once and for all.