As Israel searches for three boys kidnapped by Hamas terrorists last week, the US urges restraint on both sides.
As the intensive search continues for three teenagers abducted last week by Palestinian-Arab terrorists, the United States called on both sides to “show restraint.”
“We recognize this is an incredibly sensitive and difficult circumstance on the ground, and we feel all sides should exercise restraint,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki stated at a press conference on Wednesday.
“We’ve been in touch with both the Israelis and the Palestinians throughout the course of the last several days since these teenagers were kidnapped. We know this is a difficult time obviously on the ground. We’ve urged continued security cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the search for the kidnapped teenagers.”
“Certainly, as the search continues and in our conversations, we urge both sides to exercise restraint and avoid the types of steps that could destabilize the situation. And that’s a message that we are conveying in all of our conversations as well,” Psaki stated.
Gilad Sha’ar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach were abducted last week, on Thursday evening. Since then, Operation “Bring Back our Boys” has gripped the nation; prayer services have been taking place throughout the country.
While searching for the boys, the IDF also arrested more than 200 Hamas members, many of them senior officials, a senior IDF official told IDF Radio Wednesday. “We have expanded our operation to deepen our crackdown on Hamas.”
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was confirmed by Israeli intelligence that the kidnappers belonged to Hamas, the recognized terror organization with which Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had formed a unity government recently.
Israeli Lawmaker Appeals to Michelle Obama for Help
Frankel holds American citizenship. As noted on JewishPress.com, Psaki, at the press briefing calling for restraint six days after the kidnapping, could not recall his name.
“I believe his name has been reported,” she said. “I don’t have it in front of me right now.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking on behalf of the Administration on Sunday, said:
“The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families…. We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services. We understand that cooperation is ongoing.”
President Barack Obama has made no official comment on the kidnapping. The White House made its first statement on the abduction on Tuesday through Twitter, saying:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of three Israeli teens who were kidnapped last week. May they be reunited with their sons soon.”
Also on Tuesday, Dr. Aliza Lavie, a Member of Knesset (Israeli Parliament), appealed to First Lady Michelle Obama in a video. The latter had advocated for the release of hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria.
“I’m talking to you as mother-to-mother, woman-to-woman…. Please help us to bring our boys back home,” Lavie implored.
Peres to Demand US President’s Assistance
Meeting with the parents of the abducted teens on Thursday at his residence, President Shimon Peres vowed to involve President Obama in his upcoming trip to the US.
“The leaders of the world must make their voices heard loud and clear, they must take a strong stance against terror. Terror is a global problem, not just an Israeli one – we must recruit the world.” he stated.
Author: Atara Beck
Staff Writer/Editor, United with Israel