Israel is unleashing terror in Palestinian territories to retaliate against the suspected abduction of three Israeli teens. Israeli troops are conducting aggressive searches with heavy use of force and are arresting Palestinians in large numbers. The objective is to punish the entire Palestinian community for the action of a few, and force Palestinian leaders to intervene for the release of its citizens. In the same way as the abduction of Israelis deserves condemnation as it will only serve to complicate the peace process, whatever remains of that process, the use of illegal use of force and killing of Palestinians too deserve condemnation. Unfortunately, the world hasn’t been forthcoming in this regard, as pointed out by Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al Maliki. He expressed disbelief over the international silence on the ongoing Israeli aggression and crimes against the Palestinian people on their own land. He said that the Israeli killing, injury and detention and the incursions, destruction and siege committed by Israeli forces amount to war crimes that must be held accountable for violating international law.
Israeli security forces arrested ten more Palestinians in the West Bank as they widened their search for the three teenagers. Thousands of troops have been deployed for the search operation; the entire intelligence machinery is at work to find out the alleged abductors and the Netanyahu government is using his diplomatic muscle power to exert pressure on Palestinians. But the lack of clear proof about the perpetrators of this crime is impeding its efforts. It’s easy to accuse Hamas, and chances are that Hamas could have perpetrated this act, but conjectures can’t be the justification for state violence. The Palestinian stance has been made clear by President Mahmoud Abbas, who has twice condemned the presumed kidnapping. He said no one knows who is responsible, and Israel is accusing Hamas when it has no proof.
The alleged kidnapping is a setback for the Palestinian unity government and it’s likely to drive a wedge between Hamas and Fatah. It will also prompt Israel to use every means to wreck the latest friendship between the erstwhile rivals. And if Israel wants, it has the means and ways of achieving its objective. Cracks have already appeared in the consensus government and Hamas and Fatah will need a great deal of determination and a willingness to make huge compromises to keep the government from collapse.
As Palestinians have demanded, the United Nations must intervene to stop the Israeli arrests, killings and air strikes. These aggressions are likely to intensify as Israel becomes more desperate and pressure piles up from the Israeli public. But the Netanyahu government must realise that such atrocities will not help secure the release of the three teenagers•