Originally published in Gospel Herald
SA calls for restraint
The mourning citizens of Israel have vowed that Hamas terrorists will pay for abducting and killing three Israeli teenagers earlier this year.
The bodies of Gilad Shaar and U.S.-Israeli national Naftali Frenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were found in a field west of Hahul, near Hebron. The three, who had apparently been shot soon after being abducted on June 12, were wrapped in blue and white Israeli flags and buried side by side in the city of Modiin, reports JNS.com.
The Israeli Defense Ministry announced that two Hamas terrorists-Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme-are guilty of the horrendous “act of terror.”
Operation Brother’s Keeper, Israel’s response to the kidnapping, is currently underway as the suspects are still at large. Defense officials believe the suspects are still in Judea and Samaria, but have gone “completely off the radar.” The Israeli Shin Bet security agency said it was continuing its “intelligence and operational efforts to find all those involved in the attack.”
“The mission isn’t over,” said the IDF’s Gantz. “We are halfway there. The intelligence and operation effort put into finding the kidnapped boys will be redirected toward finding the kidnappers. The IDF will work on every level to capture them in the shortest possible time.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the nation “weeps” for the boys who were “victims” of a hate crime.
“On behalf of the entire Jewish people, I would like to tell the dear families-the mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and brothers and sisters-we are deeply saddened,” said Netanyahu. “The entire nation weeps with you.”
“Hamas is responsible-and Hamas will pay,” he added.
However, Israeli officials don’t want the punishment to end with the terrorist group: many citizens are calling for harsh penalties for the murderer’s families as well.
“[The Israeli Cabinet] needs to punish the killers’ families in the harshest possible way, so nothing like this happens again,” said Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan.
“We need to deport the murderers’ families, raze their homes, and prevent them from rebuilding,” he continued.
The abductions outraged the international community as well, as vigils and rallies were held around the world to commemorate the boys.
Large gatherings were also held in Tel Aviv’s central Rabin Square, and at the West Bank junction where the youths were abducted, with Israelis singing hymns and songs, praying and lighting candles shaped in the names of the youths or the Jewish Star of David, Fox News reports.
While the Jewish nation is devastated by the loss, they remain hopeful that justice will soon be served.
“There is no human explanation or justification for the kidnapping and murder of the boys,” said Israeli Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog (Labor).
“I’m convinced that the long arm of the [Israeli] security forces will reach the killers,” he continued. “We have known horrible, painful terror attacks and overcome them, and that’s how it will be this time. That’s life in this country.”
The South African government on Wednesday urged both Israel and Palestine to exercise restraint to avoid further confrontation reports Cihan.
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers said at a press briefing in Cape Town that the South African government has noted with regret the latest developments regarding the fate of the three Israeli teenagers who were previously kidnapped and the reactions from both Israel and Palestine.
“The South African Government calls upon all parties involved to exercise restraint, including a halt to the arbitrary arrest of Palestinian citizens and the use of collective punishment of Palestinians and the disturbance of their social and economic rights,” Landers said.
South Africa furthermore urges both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to cooperate and find an amicable solution, he said.
In a statement released yesterday, African Christian Democratic Party president Kenneth Meshoe says: “Members of both the African Christian Democratic Party and Deisi International joined our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel, and peace loving people all over the world who prayed and hoped for the safe return of the three teenagers, Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frankel, and Gilead Shaer, who were kidnapped in West Bank.
“We were devastated and saddened by the news that their dead bodies were found not far from where they were kidnapped. We share the sorrow, grief and pain suffered by the parents, families and friends who lost their loved ones. Our prayer is that the Almighty God will heal all their broken hearts, comfort their souls, renew their strength, faith and courage to continue working for peace in the region.
“The ACDP that denounced the kidnapping and killing of the three innocent teenagers appeals to all peace loving Israelis to help restrain those who might be tempted to be involved in revenge attacks. We also appeal to the Palestinian Authority to put measures in place to ensure that senseless and heartless kidnappings and killings of innocent people, particularly Jews, do not happen again.
“We commend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for demonstrating exceptional courage and leadership by condemning the killing of a Palestinian Youth and ordering investigators to work “as quickly as possible” to find perpetrators while his own people, the Jewish people, are still mourning the loss of their loved ones.
“May the Lord continue to bless, prosper and protect Israel against all her enemies.”