The search continues for three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank on June 12 as they were coming home from school. The Israeli government has placed the blame squarely on Hamas, less than two weeks following the swearing in of the Fatah-Hamas-backed Palestinian government.
The kidnapping is a result of intensified terrorist activity emanating from the West Bank since President Mahmoud Abbas forged an alliance with Hamas, including a recently foiled suicide bombing and a shooting attack that left an Israeli police officer wounded.
Because Hamas has become a 50 percent partner behind a government of “technocrats” within the Palestinian Authority at the invitation of Abbas, Israel is rightly holding him responsible for the fate of the kidnapped teens. Instead of upholding his international obligation to disarm Hamas, Abbas has embraced the organization, lending legitimacy to terrorism. Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority continues to incite Palestinians to hatred and violence by glorifying terrorists through official media and its education system.
Hamas remains committed to the destruction of Israel and to carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. Hamas does not need any reason, excuse or incentive to murder and kidnap Israelis: terrorist attacks are nothing less than Hamas’ raison d'etre. With its newly sanctioned position within the government, Hamas remains more poised than ever to take control of the Palestinian Authority, just as it did in Gaza.
Israel warned the international community about the dangers of endorsing Fatah’s pact with Hamas. Today it is clear that Hamas has exploited the partnership to strengthen its presence in the West Bank, with grave consequences.