If you’ve followed today’s developments with the naming of two suspects in the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, you must be very careful to understand what’s being conveyed. You’re told, as in misleading headlines like this (“Shin Bet names two Hamas militants as West Bank kidnappers“), the Shin Bet has named the perpetrators of the kidnapping. But if you read the fine print, it hasn’t.
The two suspects named have not been directly associated with the crime in any way. They merely disappeared the same day as the kidnapping. So the Shin Bet is putting various clues together (it’s arrested many of their relatives and questioned them mercilessly, including a pregnant wife) and from this deduces that they committed the crime. But as in many similar incidents involving Israeli intelligence, you have to take a step back and compare what you’re told with the evidence that’s actually been offered.
It’s very possible that these two Palestinians, who have a history of involvement with Hamas’ military wing, are involved in the kidnapping. It’s possible they had no involvement. You won’t read any of this skepticism in the Israeli media, not even in the vaunted liberal bastion, Haaretz. It’s a shameful breach of journalistic standards to become a mouthpiece for the intelligence services. But that’s how it is in the national security state.
At most, you will only read a line or two about what may’ve motivated them to commit such a crime (if they did): fathers in prison, brothers murdered by the IDF. But this is soft-pedaled because no Israeli reader wants to know about a Palestinian’s personal history, especially not one “guilty” of unspeakable crimes against Israeli children. There is one thing of which you may be certain: when and if they are found, they will be summarily executed. Of course, it won’t be presented to the media that way. The IDF never puts a bullet in a Palestinian from point blank range. It’s always: ‘the terrorist fired at soldiers who returned fire and killed him;’ or when told to surrender he fired a fussilade of bullets, which the IDF responded to, killing him.’ Palestinian militants always, according to Israeli news accounts, go out with guns blazing like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The reality is more like they are hunted down like rabid dogs and “put to sleep” by their IDF executioners.
The pro-Israelists among us may attempt to argue that I’m romanticizing the crime: not at all. It’s just that I have a quaint notion that if you purport to be a civilized society, when confronted by criminality you don’t become criminals yourself. Instead, you show criminals that a democratic society has ways to deal with breaches of norms. Ways to hold those who commit crimes accountable for their acts. Drilling a bullet into the head of a caged animal isn’t the act of a civilized country. It’s the act of a vengeful animal.
In a generally better-quality report, ABC News, says that Hamas has confirmed the two were associated with the militant group. You’ll notice that, unlike the Israeli press, ABC actually traveled to the West Bank and interviewed family members to learn more about the suspects.
I find it darkly amusing that WINEP released a poll of Palestinian opinion which found that attitudes toward a two-state solution had “hardened.” You don’t say. And I wonder why? Putting 1-million Palestinians under a state of siege, killing five innocent civilians and arresting 500 will do that. The truth is that Bibi is happy destroying any chance of a two-state solution (or any solution) to the conflict. He creating his own facts on the ground. He has no Palestinian partner not because the partner drove him away, but just the opposite. It is Bibi who’s poisoning the well.
In the meantime, the government revealed that the 911 dispatcher who took the first call passed it to his supervisor, who decided it was a prank when she couldn’t get anyone to answer when she called the victim’s cell phone. That lost the police five precious hours in which to find the boys. If the supervisor had immediately put out an alert, security forces would’ve been searching only a few minutes after their kidnapping. Not after they were likely already dead.
I’ve written here regularly about the dreadful incompetence, corruption and brutality of the Israeli police. This is yet another example.
On an unrelated matter, but one sure to give you a chuckle, an Israeli reader sent me a screensho of an ad displayed in my Google sidebar tower. It was from Israel’s justice ministry and promoted Israel’s Freedom of Information Act. I hope the irony of promoting alleged Israeli government transparency will be evident to anyone who’s spent any amount of time here.
This is a thoughtful and accurate post, fully justified by events.
I wonder a lot about the disappearance of the three Israeli youths – we know so little for certain about the case. Netenyahu said that he was going to offer “proof” of Hamas involvement – instead he has offered us two names, which just as well may have been pulled out of a hat, for all the relevance they have. We have no report of exactly where the kidnapping took place, no appeal to witnesses to come forward. No details have been offered about the burned out car with Israeli license plates, found in Dura, on the day after the disappearance – whose car was that? Was it stolen? Was it, as originally supposed, linked to the crime? The IDF covered it in sheets and took it away, and that was that.
No, the post is not inaccurate. For example “You’ll notice that, unlike the Israeli press, ABC actually traveled to the West Bank and interviewed family members to learn more about the suspects” – this can say only one who doesn’t watch any Israeli TV channel or doesn’t understands what he sees.
Richard Silverstein says
@Ori: Both Haaretz & NY didn’t bother going to the West Bank to interview the family & gain their perspective. I should’ve been more specific.
” There is one thing of which you may be certain: when and if they are found, they will be summarily executed. ”
Unlikely. Executing them would foreclose any chance to recover the boys, or the boy’s remains.
Daniel Rocha says
That’s assuming it was them that took the 3 guys. And also, assuming that there is much less priority in finding anyone than breaking up relations between Hamas and PA.
M. Torres says
“Unlikely. Executing them would foreclose any chance to recover the boys, or the boy’s remains.”
Perhaps unlikely if you believe there ever was a kidnapping, evidence for which has not yet been revealed. But if, in fact, the “kidnapping” never happened, then you surely must know that the two Palestinians named will certainly be killed by the IDF when found.
Given that, according to many sources including Ha’aretz, the massive military intrusion into the West Bank was planned for some time before the “kidnapping’ and was waiting only a “reason”, I strongly doubt the 3 disappeared settlers are in any danger, unlike the Palestinians.
Does a tape recording of a kidnapped boy saying, ‘We’ve been kidnapped’, and ending with the sound of gunfire, constitute ‘evidence’ of kidnapping?
I’d say so.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Lou: How do you know there is the sound of gunfire on the recording unless it’s one of the many rumors you’ve heard?
I read it in the news. What’s your ‘source’ say about the tape?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Lou: Where did you read it? Do you always read things in God knows what source & presume it’s true? Or do you only believe what Shabak agents tell you?
As for my source, do you think I wouldn’t have written about this if he had information to add??
Rumours in the press is all that anyone has. In that aspect, this case is very like “Prisoner X” – up until someone anonymously put all the information out there. For the kidnapping, it is just astounding that the Israelis have not done a proper press conference, with a police information sheet, exact details of what can be released to pubic, and appeals for witnesses. It suggests that something quite significant is being hidden. It is not normal for teenage students to leave their boarding school to go hitch hiking late at night.
M. Torres says
Lou – I hope you’re not basing your belief in this “kidnapping” on that phone call. If this were a set-up or a prank, don’t you think that’s exactly what would happen?
I figure it’s slightly, slightly possible they were taken by unfriendly forces. It’s far, far, far more likely it was either a Settler prank or a choreographed “excuse” for Israel to do what it had been planning to do for a long time, that is, terrorize the Palestinians in the West Bank, destroy Hamas leadership, and primarily, to destroy the new Unity government.
We may never know the answer, but Palestinians will know who it was that found a way to ratchet up already unbelievable cruelty, brutality and inhumanity: the “Most Moral Army in the World” and the criminals who command them.
Great imagination M Torres!
You really bring common sense and humanity to this blog. Your wondrous assertions are a breath of fresh air to us poor lowlies who can’t comprehend reality and live blissfully in la la land!
May the ‘unfriendly force’ be with you. Beware of the jabberwockey.
The Palestinian cause has finally got its answer to Dershowitz.
Why on earth would the ‘most moral army in the world ‘made up of ‘murderous criminals’ need an excuse to arrest Hamas members? Are u a joke M Torres? Are are u a Zionist troll to make a joke of the Palestinian cause?
Daniel Rocha says
Is it even possible to troll IDF, which is already troll?
Of course not from M Torres
Baruch Dayan emet
What happened to the claim that (formerly?) western-backed ISIL affiliated militants were behind this kidnapping ? Fake ?
“The Dawlat al-Islam group, an affiliate of ISIS, called Reuters Jerusalem and said it was behind the kidnapping”
Dawlat al-Islam is linked to ISIS, the Sunni militant organization behind the Syria and Iraq insurgency, funded by Saudi and Qatari groups.
Last November, Israeli commandos killed three members of a Salafi terror cell in the South Hebron Hills village of Kfar Yatta. The three were planning an attack on Israel, and pistols and explosive devices were found at the site of the operation.
“Yatta residents identified the dead as Moussa Pansha, 22, Mohammed Nairuh, 23, and Mahmoud Anjar, also in his twenties, adding that all three were members of the Salafist movement of the village.”
Saudi Arabia supports the Sunni insurgency in Iraq and Syria, based on Salafi and Wahhabi teachings. Qatar backs the Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terror group by the UAE and today’s leadership in Egypt under president Sisi. Hamas had a close relationship with ousted president Morsi and a link to extremists in the Sinai.
“Claims of responsibility” have come from the Salafist group Dawlat al Islam, Liberators’ Battalion of Hebron, and Al Aqsa Brigades (unconfirmed), but none of these groups have any connection with Hamas.
” Putting 1-million Palestinians under a state of siege, killing five innocent civilians and arresting 500 will do that. ”
The search for the boys began on June 13 and the poll was taken June 15-17, so the killings and arrest of 500 were subsequent to the polling.
Richard Silverstein says
@Lou: Nonsense. The invasion of the West Bank began immediately after the kidnapping. By the 17th it was in full swing. At any rate, it doesn’t matter when the kidnapping happened. West Bank Palestinians are smart enough to see that there’s no hope of a two state solution with hardened nationalist ideologues in power. So why support two states at all when there’s no Israeli partner??
Firstly I must correct a mistake in reporting that the kidnapped are ‘settlers’ – only one of the three is a settler (Talmon) two others are from Israel 48 (Elad and Nof Ayalon).
Secondly, according to channel 10 some of the arrested Hamas members have admitted a connection to the kidnaping and have implicated the two missing suspects.
Thirdly, can u really contemplate that there was no kidnapping and thousands of family friends and acquaintances are praying for their return and have all been duped that they are missing and the three kids are hiding from the public view at the behest of the Israeli authorities to create an incident? A bit like the nasa non-moon landing conspiracy?
Fourthly, the fact that some are trying to deny the kidnapping and Hamas involvement at least shows that were it to be true u are appalled by it and will do anything to hope this never even happened.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Shmuel: All three attended a settlement yeshiva and they were in the West Bank when they were kidnapped. I’m not sure whether they were headed to another settlement as their destination or were going somewhere within the Green Line (though that hardly matters). Further, as far as the kidnappers would’ve been concerned, these were settlers.
As for whatever the detainees have or haven’t said–I wouldn’t trust that with a 10 foot pole. You’re hearing that via a reporter who heard it from a Shabak agent, who may’ve made it up or spoken truth. No one can know since there is a total lack of transparency in national security affairs in your country.
” …the fact that some are trying to deny the kidnapping and Hamas involvement at least shows that were it to be true u are appalled by it and will do anything to hope this never even happened …”
I think people are sceptical about the story of kidnapping for several reasons:
-because Netenyahu says so, and he is so unreliable
-because there is a lack of information, a total news blackout, which is unusual in a case of this kind. If an abduction had taken place on a public road, then usually police would make a statement, giving the time and place, and calling for witnesses
-the original Israeli document certifying the news blackout refers only to a “presumed abduction”
-and one is aware that these hitch hikers may have met with a criminal element from Israeli society. Israelis must know of this possibility, look at who spoke the words “my brother’s keeper”, which they adopted for the violent campaign of revenge against the Palestinians.
No one is too appalled by the possibility of a Hamas kidnapping. If that happened, it would just be a Shalit situation, all over again. But one feels that this is different, and a much darker, more complicated story.
It’s a slippery slope when one minimizes, so to speak, the kidnapping by calling the victims ‘settlers’ rather than kids or Israeli citizens as if an anti-settler action is legitimate.
The sequitur becomes: only against the Israeli government not Israelis. Then: against Israelis not all zionists. Then: against zionists not Jews…..
Daniel Rocha says
You are crossing a line to a strawman argument when you write “The sequitur becomes: only against the Israeli government not Israelis. Then: against Israelis not all zionists. Then: against zionists not Jews…..”. When, Israel kidnaps hundreds of people for no reason other than collective punishment, other than supposedly being connected to Hamas. And this is a non issue, since someone there can be connected to Hamas by any dirty logic, from being a “suicide bomber” to working in childcare place or being soccer player.
And being a settler is taking a part in a crime of stealing native land. This was/is a horrible chapter in all Americas, which still happens in my country Brazil (the mainstream media not even frowns that, but support the lies the police tells them). Taking adults hostages (´kidnapping’) is indeed a minimizer, not only that, it is justifiable as negotiation tool against criminals. Taking kids is not so much, though, because they are not able to say no and getting away no to the atrocities their parents are taking part in and may be naive to understand.
I think there are some caveats in this case. One of the missing kids, it seems he was conscious and educated enough to say no (the American one), though I cannot be sure. A price was not asked, so, this is not really a kidnap, but false imprisonment. And lastly, given that the fanatic mentality of many settlers (like mental criminals), it wouldn’t be odd that one of them had the idea that God told him to kidnap so that wrath came down on Palestinians. Religious fanaticism do induce or reinforce mental problems.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Shmuel: It’s not a slippery slope at all. They were kidnapped because they were seen as settlers, attending a settler yeshiva, hitchhiking in Occupied Palestine. If they attended a yeshiva within the Green Line they would not be called settlers nor would they be kidnapped. “Kids” or “Israeli settlers” are kidnapped when they enter occupied lands.
While kidnapping and murder are clearly horrific crimes deserving of punishment wherever they happen, they happen in Occupied Palestine for a particular reason.
Via the Jewish Press I came across: Jameel blogs at the Muqata.
Muqata.com has server via Godaddy.com in Scottsdale AZ
His facebook page published a photo of an IDF humvee with smashed windows, purported to have carried the bodies of three teens murdered near the village of Halhul north of Hebron.
8:44pm IDF Ambulance humvee transporting the bodies of the boys attacked by arabs….windows smashed.
I suspect this is a piece of propaganda, from an earlier article I found his love for smashed ambulances …
Day After Day: Palestinians Attack MDA Ambulances
Published: April 4th, 2013
An impression from his blog:
Following are the immoral pond scum of the Israeli Government who voted against the law:
•Tzipi Livni (Movement)
•Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid)
•Yael German (Yesh Atid)
•Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid)
•Amir Peretz (Movement)
•Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid)
Their worldview shoves morality to the wayside, spits in the face of the victims’ memories and their families, makes a mockery of the whole notion of justice.
Luckily, this law from MK Ayelet Shaked did receive approval from the vast majority of the Israeli government. At least someone still has a backbone.
The tragedy of Halhul and Israeli occupation