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Silencing dissent in Israel - continued

Silencing dissent doesn’t only mean directly quashing free speech. Silencing, or a chilling effect, also take place when certain forces in society dominate and monopolize the narrative, deciding what is acceptable, what is fringe and what is mainstream.

Judaism for me is a sensibility of collective self-questioning and uncomfortable truth-telling: the dafka-like quality of awkwardness and dissent for which we were once known. It is not enough to stand at a tangent to other peoples’ conventions; we should also be the most unforgiving critics of our own. I feel a debt of responsibility to this past. It is why I am Jewish.
-Tony Judt, “Toni”, NYRB April 19, 2010.

This sentiment by the late historian Tony Judt articulates much of what informs my identity and my academic and journalistic pursuits. The mere fact that I quote him will already set off alarm bells, deterring those who wrote him off as anti-Israel and beyond the pale, due to his 2003 New York Review of Books article suggesting the two-state solution was dead; an argument much more ubiquitous today – and openly voiced by right-wing members of Israel’s government.

But he, Hannah Arendt, Baruch Spinoza and Yeshayahu Leibovitz are all examples of Jews in history who were ostracized for their opinions – precisely because they dared to open up sensitive topics and subsequently challenged a paradigm within the community. People accused them of inaccuracies, dismissed them, calling them bad Jews and Israel haters. I am by no means comparing myself to them but they are all significant inspirations who embody the issue of demarcating the limits of dissent in Jewish history, and whose work I go back to over and over again.

Israelis are really sensitive about having their dirty laundry aired in public. And that is exactly why it should be done. It is why I wrote what I wrote in the New York Times; the issues I raised need to be voiced and grappled with in a broader forum, and precisely because it is not something you normally see in that paper.

Pointing out worrying trends doesn’t mean Israel is China or North Korea. But that is not something to boast about. It is (still) a place where individual Jews can speak freely without being silenced – for the most part. There was the incident of high school teacher Adam Verete, who was nearly fired...

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'Autopsy contradicts police, shows Palestinian teen was shot in head'

Police originally said they had shot the teenager in the leg with a sponge-tipped bullet. Sixteen-year-old Mohammed Sunuqrut is the first Palestinian to die from the ‘less-lethal’ crowd control munition.

Muhammad Sunuqrut's body is prepared for the funeral procession, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Muhammad Sunuqrut’s body is prepared for the funeral procession, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Sixteen-year-old Palestinian boy Mohammed Sunuqrut was shot in the head and not in the leg, as police claimed, leaked preliminary results of his autopsy showed. Israeli police shot Sunuqrut with a sponge-tipped bullet near a protest in East Jerusalem on August 31 and he died of his wounds a week later. The official autopsy report has not yet been published but both Israeli and Palestinian sources involved confirm that Sunuqrut died from a projectile wound to his head. The police claim — that they shot him in the leg as he threw stones and that when he turned to run, fell and cracked his skull — appears to be untrue.

Sunuqrut’s uncle Adel told +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call, that Mohammed was not protesting that day and claimed he had never taken part in any rioting or stone throwing. The teenager had been sent out to buy some bread, the uncle said, but 10 minutes after he left people came running to the home to say Mohammed was shot. Adel says that when he tried to reach his wounded nephew, Israeli policemen were surrounding the boy and wouldn’t let him through. He claims they threatened to shoot him if he didn’t back away, and continued to surround the boy for 10 to 15 minutes before allowing him to be evacuated to hospital.

Learn more about Israel’s use of crowd control weapons

What is even more disconcerting is that someone at the scene who identified himself as Ahmed made an emergency call to the Israeli emergency services dispatch describing Muhammed’s dire situation. He can be heard in the recording saying, “he was shot in the head, he’s unconscious,” Haaretz reported. Even if at that time police were convinced that Mohammed’s head injuries were caused by the fall, that does not explain why they delayed his evacuation to the hospital by so many crucial minutes. The bullet that hit Mohammed was also mysteriously missing from the scene.

Mohammed’s killing, which...

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'Police threaten to destroy memorial for slain Palestinian teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir'

Clashes and riots break out over the death of another Palestinian teen shot by Israel police.

Memorial for Mohammed Abu Khdeir outside his home in Shuafat, East Jerusalem (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)

Memorial for Mohammed Abu Khdeir outside his home in Shuafat, East Jerusalem (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)

Israel Police on Sunday threatened to destroy a memorial for murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive by several Israeli Jews on July 2, according to Tamar Fleishman, an Israeli activist who met with the Abu Khdeir family on Sunday. Mohammed’s father, Hussein, reportedly said police instructed him to dismantle it or they would.

According to Fleishman, Hussein told police that if they destroyed the memorial the entire family would return in the middle of the night and build a larger one in the middle of the street of their Shuafat neighborhood, on the tracks of the light rail.

+972 requested comment from the Jerusalem police who replied that it is a municipal matter.

The municipality responded that they are not familiar with the incident, did not send any of their inspectors and have no intention of destroying the memorial.

It has been just over two months since Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive. Since then, Palestinian residents of the area have been protesting and rioting in the biggest display of opposition to Israeli occupation in Jerusalem since the Second Intifada.

And Israel border policeman outside the Abu Khdeir home in Shuafat, East Jerusalem Sept. 7, 2014 (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)

And Israel border policeman outside the Abu Khdeir home in Shuafat, East Jerusalem Sept. 7, 2014 (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)

Israeli authorities have beefed up police presence and have been detaining large numbers of Palestinians on a nightly basis. According to the Addammeer prisoner rights group, over 770 Palestinian Jerusalemites were arrested in July and August, including roughly a dozen members of the Abu Kheir family. (Muhammed’s American cousin, Tarek, was famously filmed being severely beaten by Israeli police.) In addition, East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Silwan and Issawiya have been regularly closed off by Jerusalem police effectively barring residents from entering and exiting freely.

On Sunday yet another Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Sunuqrut from Wadi Joz, a neighborhood just north of...

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Post-Gaza war poll: Hamas, Haniyeh and rockets popularity at all-time high

More than two-thirds of Palestinians favor bringing Hamas’ armed resistance model to the West Bank, although majorities in Gaza prefer that the PA take over key aspects of security and governance of Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli military leaders may have boasted of victory over Hamas last week following 50 days of warfare in Gaza, but a new poll shows Hamas with its highest-ever approval ratings among Palestinians since it took control of Gaza in 2006. In contrast, Netanyahu’s approval ratings have plummeted: 50 percent of Israelis said they are dissatisfied with his conduct, compared with an 82-percent approval rating at the beginning of the ground operation in mid-July, according to a Channel 2 poll.

If presidential elections were held today, Hamas leader and former PA prime minister Ismail Haniyeh would defeat Fatah leader and current PA President Mahmoud Abbas by a large margin (61 percent to 32 percent), according to the poll. In addition, for the first time in eight years, Haniyeh would also come in slightly ahead of imprisoned Fatah veteran Marwan Barghouti (49:45), who is serving two life sentences in Israeli prison.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, May 29, 2014 (Screenshot from Palestinian Interior Ministry YouTube)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, May 29, 2014 (Screenshot from Palestinian Interior Ministry YouTube)

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) among a sample of 1,270 adults in person in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between August 26-30, 2014, indicates that 79 percent of Palestinians believe Hamas won the war, 94 percent are satisfied with its military performance against Israel and a majority — 53 percent – believes that armed confrontation is the most effective means for establishing a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.

Eighty-six percent of Palestinians support launching of rockets from Gaza if the siege and blockade are not ended, according to the poll. Half of those polled believe that launching rockets from populated areas is unjustified, but that number increases to 59 percent among Gazans; only 38 percent of those polled in the West Bank believe it is unjustified.

When broken down geographically, Abbas’ approval rating rises in the Gaza Strip to 49 percent but drops to 33 percent in the West Bank. By contrast, Khaled Meshaal’s approval rating drops in the Gaza Strip to 70 percent but rises to 83 percent in the West Bank. (Each is slightly more...

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'Suspects in brutal beating of two Palestinians tied to anti-miscegenation group'

Ten Jewish Israelis are suspected of severely beating two Palestinian men from Jerusalem in a wartime hate crime. Police believe some of the suspects are tied to right-wing anti-Arab group Lehava, Walla reports.

Several Jewish Israeli suspects in the brutal attack of two Palestinians from East Jerusalem on July 25th are connected to anti-miscegenation, anti-Arab group Lehava, according to a report by Walla! News on Monday.

In what Walla! describes as a “near lynch,” a group of about 10 Jewish Israelis from the East Jerusalem settlement of Neve Yaakov assaulted Amir Shwiki and Samer Mahfouz of Beit Hanina with bats and iron rods on a Friday evening during the height of the summer’s Gaza war (known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge). Both men were beaten unconscious and hospitalized in critical condition, only only recently improving to stable condition.

According to the report, the suspects had just left a shiva (Jewish ritual of seven days of mourning) for fallen IDF soldier Staff-Sgt. Moshe Malko, who was killed during an operation in Shujaiyeh in Gaza a few days earlier. From the investigation, it appears they set out looking to take revenge for Malko’s death. One of the suspects admitted in his interrogation that the motive for the assault was hatred of Arabs, according to Walla!. He added that he hates Arabs “just because. They are the enemy.” The investigation also allegedly revealed that several Jewish women who witnessed the beating did not call police, instead encouraging the attackers by screaming “death to Arabs.”

Neve Yaakov is a settlement in East Jerusalem adjacent to Beit Hanina, and the two communities have had violent confrontations in the past, especially since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2 and the subsequent Gaza war.

Nine of the 10 suspects are not cooperating with police but one of them, a 14 year old, did talk. He reportedly told police that his brother, who was also allegedly involved in the attack, is an active member of anti-miscegenation group “Lehava.” According to the Walla! report, police believe many of those involved in the attack are active members of Lehava, an organization whose stated mission is to combat Jewish intermarriage but in practice engages in rampant and blatant anti-Arab incitement and racism.

Police also reportedly found that two of the suspects had been arrested in the past (more than once) for assaulting Palestinians (neither of them ever served time in...

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Court to allow anti-Arab protest outside Jewish-Palestinian wedding

A Palestinian citizen of Israel and his fiance, a Jewish Israeli who converted to Islam, have turned to the courts to try and prevent a protest planned at their wedding Sunday night, Haaretz reported.

As I reported here Thursday, the anti-miscegenation, anti-Arab group Lehava publicized the couple’s wedding invitation on social media in full with date and location and called on  supporters to show up and protest the union. It doesn’t interest them that the bride has converted and no longer considers herself a Jew, or that they are two consenting adults who wish to spend their lives together. As far as they are concerned, she is an apostate who must be saved from this Muslim man.

The couple requested that the court not only issue an injunction against the protest but also against the group for the harassment they have been subjected to. Along with some of their family members, the two have reportedly received death threats over the phone. As a result, before turning to the court, they were required by the police to hire 33 security guards at a cost of NIS 15,000, of which the wedding hall will pay half.

According to a report in Channel 2 (Hebrew), the judge decided to let the protest go ahead, but ordered it take place 200 meters  from the wedding hall so as to prevent any friction between the wedding goers and the protesters. The judge also said that if in fact it is proven that the couple has been harassed and threatened, it will be considered a crime.

The groom, Mahmoud Mansour, told Haaretz: “We’ve been together for five years, but we’ve never encountered such racism. I always knew there were racists, but as long as you’re not affected by it, until you feel it in your own body, you don’t know what it is.”

Related:
Palestinian-Jewish couple hires wedding security for fear of anti-miscegenation group
Jewish anti-miscegenation groups distribute racist, sexist flyers
‘Don’t you even dare think about a Jewess’: An assault on tolerance education

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Palestinian-Jewish couple hires wedding security for fear of anti-miscegenation group

An Israeli anti-miscegenation group is threatening a Palestinian-Jewish couple, calling for protests at the venue on the day of their wedding.

Palestinian resident of Jaffa, Mahmoud Mansour, has reportedly hired 14 security guards to be present at his wedding next week to Morel Malka, a Jewish Israeli, for fear he may be harmed by members/supporters of the radical anti-miscegenation group Lehava.*

According to a report in NRG (Hebrew), Lehava – whose mission is to prevent marriage between Jews and non-Jews, and thus “save the daughters of Israel” – got hold of a copy of the wedding invitation on social media and reportedly published it in full, providing the date and location of the wedding, and called on people to come out in full force and protest.

A sticker from the anti-miscegenation group Lahava is seen on an electrical post in Jerusalem. The sticker reads 'Don’t you even dare to think about a Jewess,' in Hebrew and Arabic (photo: Michael Omer-Man)

A sticker from the anti-miscegenation group Lahava is seen on an electrical post in Jerusalem. The sticker reads: ‘Don’t you even dare to think about a Jewess,’ in Hebrew and Arabic (photo: Michael Omer-Man)

Lehava’s website is currently under construction and its Facebook page was removed two weeks ago (Hebrew) due to user complaints of incitement. The article quotes Lehava head Benzi Gupstein as saying that “We are still at war and she is marrying a member of the enemy,” adding that the wedding is especially infuriating because it is taking place in the center of the country and not in “one of their villages.”

A similar organization, Yad L’Achim, whose motto is “We don’t give up on even a single Jew,” also called attention to the wedding, however it did not publish the information. A status was published on its Facebook page showing a blurred photo of the bride-to-be and urges users to encourage her to call off the wedding. It has over 2,000 likes and 600 shares.

*I refer to the group as anti-miscegenation because they oppose relations between Arabs and Jews – technically that is an ethnic matter and not a racial one, but nonetheless I think it applies in this context.

Related:
Jewish anti-miscegenation groups distribute racist, sexist flyers
‘Don’t you even dare think about a Jewess’:...

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The battle over numbers: Gaza conflict is about quality not quantity

While it may be tempting for those of us who are against Operation Protective Edge to stress the lopsided casualty statistics as a way to promote our criticism, this war should not focus on the numbers.

One of the most painfully obvious aspects of the current warfare between Israel and Gaza (and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a whole) is the stark disparity in the number of casualties: 1,928 Palestinians killed compared with 67 Israelis, based on the latest figures recorded by each side. Both the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza and the UN claim the majority are civilians, whereas Israel claims that around half are militants and thus legitimate targets. Regardless of what numbers one subscribes to, no one can deny Palestinians are the winners (read: losers) when it comes to numbers. Yet they nonetheless remain the subject of intense debate.

Recent articles in both the BBC and the New York Times call attention to the accuracy the death toll. Both articles question the credibility of the numbers provided by Hamas and human rights groups on the ground, which many (myself included) often quote, as they are the only official numbers publicized. No official Israeli government body has provided final numbers on the outcome of its strikes in real time, and there is no other body doing so. The BBC report specifically cites over-representation of adult male civilian casualties as evidence that challenges the notion that Israeli strikes in Gaza have been indiscriminate.

Palestinian youth living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth, during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza and in support of the Palestinian people, in the northern village Tamra on August 2, 2014. (Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Palestinian youth living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth, during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza, in the northern village of Tamra on August 2, 2014. (Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

The growing death toll and its composition (civilian vs. militant, child vs. adult, male vs. female) are a prominent feature of the media coverage, seemingly to provide the bare facts about the war. Twitter has been full of photos of dead Palestinian children and regular updates on the alarming number of casualties in Gaza, alongside those who tweet the number of rockets launched in a given day into Israel,...

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Anticipating sirens and contractions: Bringing a baby into this reality

Nothing about life here is ‘normal.’ How could it be? And neither will my birthing experience – and maybe that’s for the best, so that things have a chance to actually change.

Thursday was my “due date.” I began my 40th week of pregnancy yesterday and am due to go into labor any day now. I’ve been mentally and physically preparing myself for this exciting and unpredictable moment for months, planning to have as natural, active and positive an experience as I can without any unnecessary interventions.

Then came the huge intervention of reality this week as rockets began being fired at Jaffa-Tel Aviv. No longer simply anticipating contractions, but anticipating sirens. No longer just being attentive to my body ahead of labor, but also ahead of rockets. I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I’ll be bringing my first child into this world amid the harrowing sounds of sirens followed by booms of rockets exploding in the skies above me that shake the whole house — and waking up every morning to news that the Israeli military is in-distinctively killing dozens of Palestinians, including women and children in an operation that I do not feel protects me, or serves the interests of my soon-to-be-born child’s future.

At first I couldn’t see past my upset and resentment that the holistic, wholesome and calm labor experience I had been hoping for is being taken away from me, just like that, because of the inopportune timing, and there’s little I can do about it. And I’m angry over the fact that my child’s first days of existence will be shrouded in unnerving sounds and an atmosphere of fear, violence, death and destruction.

And this, on the already grim backdrop of weeks of heightened violence in which so many young people — the three murdered Israeli teens and significantly more Palestinian teens — have been killed, beaten and detained. (Remember Nadim Nuwara and Mohammed Salameh, who were shot by Israeli forces in Beitunia on May 15 while posing no direct threat, and still no condemnation or legal action has been taken.) And all this, on top of the ongoing daily reality of the evergreen occupation and general violence of life here in Israel and Palestine.

But while it is still of course difficult and stressful for me as far as my personal experience as a pregnant woman, relatively speaking, I’m fine. My...

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'Jewish extremists' arrested in murder of Palestinian teen in Jerusalem

Details of the police investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir have been held under gag order.

Palestinians carry the body of Muhammed Abu Khdeir through the streets of Shuafat. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians carry the body of Muhammed Abu Khdeir through the streets of Shuafat. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Six suspects identified as “Jewish extremists” were arrested in connection to the heinous murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, police revealed as details began emerging about the investigation Sunday morning. All details about the investigation have been kept under gag order since the 16 year old was kidnapped and burned alive, an incident that sparked clashes and riots in Shuafat that spread to other parts of Israel in recent days.

It is important to point out that following the kidnapping/murder of the three Israeli teenagers on June 12, headlines in Israeli media and statements from the government quickly deemed it a “terror” attack perpetrated by  ”terrorists” backed by the “terrorist” organization Hamas - before any evidence was shown or any suspects arrested.  However, in the case of Abu Khdeir’s murder, the suspects are, at worst, “Jewish extremists” or from the “far-right.”

While the Abu Khdeir family claimed from the very beginning  that this was an act committed by Jewish Israelis because their son was Palestinian, rumors spread (many believe by the Israel Police itself) that this was an inter-family honor killing, possibly because the victim was gay. However, that baseless claim was completely ruled out Sunday.
Read +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings and their aftermath

According to a preliminary autopsy report released Friday, Abu Khdeir was burnt alive; soot was found in his respiratory system and he had burns over 90 percent of his body, in addition to a head injury.

Police were expected to hold a press conference Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a Jerusalem court on Sunday ordered the release of Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s cousin Tarek, an American citizen from Tampa, Florida who was  brutally beaten by Border Police officers while  in custody on Thursday. Tarek has not been charged with a crime. His bail was set at NIS 3,000 and he was placed under house arrest and barred from entering Shuafat, where he has been on vacation visiting his family. The investigation against him is ongoing. There were various...

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WATCH: Disturbing footage of police beating Palestinian in Shuafat

A disturbing video emerged Thursday night that shows what appears to be Israeli policemen brutally beating a Palestinian in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Shuafat. Clashes broke out in the neighborhood Wednesday morning following the discovery of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s body in a suspected revenge killing by Israeli Jews.

The video, first aired by Palestine Today and also appearing in a report in Electronic Intifada, shows what appear to be two undercover Israeli border policemen kicking and beating a Palestinian, whose face is also covered, while he appears handcuffed, pinned down and barely moving. After the two finish beating him they drag him over to a group of other Israeli police forces, including both undercover and uniformed riot police.

A second video appears to show parts of the same scene from a different angle.

Asked for comment by +972, Israel Police Foreign Press Spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld gave a very brief comment after the video was described to him on the phone: “This may be part of the ongoing police operations in the area [Shuafat] amid heavy rioting. Six people whose faces were covered were arrested yesterday. That’s all I have to say about it.”

The clashes in Shuafat came just one day after hundreds of far-right Israeli Jews rioted in West Jerusalem, following the discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. The rioters searched businesses for Arabs and accosted Arab-looking people on the street. A total of 50 people were arrested.

Read more about the kidnappings and clashes:
Photos of the week: A chronology of two kidnappings
Why this isn’t a ‘new’ intifada
East Jerusalem hospitals cope with clashes




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The kidnapping and the Israeli military operation - in numbers

Since the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers from a hitchhiking stop in the West Bank on June 12, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces has been operating all over the Palestinian territories, in Areas A, B and C. The following list attempts to provide some basic statistics on the toll it has been exacting. While Israeli media is portraying the operation as highly restrained, these numbers show the deep effect it has on the Palestinian population as of June 20, 2014. *Some numbers provided are estimates due to the difficulty in confirming exact numbers.

Number of kidnapped Israeli teenagers: 3

Number of days since operation began: 7

Number of Palestinians arrested: 388

Of them, number associated with Hamas: 240

Of them, the number released in 2011 Gilad Shalit exchange: 55

Number of indictments filed against them thus far: 0

Number of Palestinians killed: 2

Number of Palestinians wounded: Dozens

In critical condition: 1

Number of Israeli soldiers wounded: 1

Number of troops deployed to Hebron: At least 2,000

Number of residents of the city of Hebron under total lockdown:  200,000

Number of Israelis living in Hebron: 800

Number of houses raided throughout West Bank: Thousands

Number of locations/institutions raided: 1,150

Number of rockets fired from Gaza: 16

Number of Israelis wounded: 0

Structures damaged: 1

Number of Israeli air strikes on Gaza: At least 15

Number of Palestinians wounded: At least 7

Sources: IDF Spokesperson, Palestinian Prisoners Club, Haaretz, Walla, Ma’an News Agency, Associated Press, New York Times, International Middle East Media Center




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The kidnapping: Israelis aren't the only ones facing national tragedy

Providing context may be taboo at a time when the entire country is focused on the fate of three kidnapped Israeli teens, but it is part and parcel of the story.

Since news broke Friday of the alleged kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers who study in a West Bank yeshiva north of Hebron the night before, media outlets and social media users have been gripping at straws to publicize new information on what has quickly become a national tragedy dominating Israel’s public discourse. The kidnapping and reactions to it, however, cannot be viewed in a vacuum.

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday named the operation to locate the three, “Shuvu Achim” (Return, Brothers), and the IDF Spokesperson launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys. Netanyahu asserted Sunday morning that Hamas is responsible for the kidnapping – although he provided no other information. Hamas thus far has not claimed responsibility and a Gaza-based spokesperson for the group called Netanyahu’s statement “stupid.”

Israeli soldiers shut down the entrance to the West Bank city of Hebron, seen on June 15, 2014. A complete closure was put on the city after three Israeli teenagers went missing near a West Bank settlement. The three, all students at a Jewish seminary, went missing late on June 12 as they were hitchhiking between Bethlehem and Hebron and are believed to have been kidnapped. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers shut down the entrance to the West Bank city of Hebron, seen on June 15, 2014. A complete closure was put on the city after three Israeli teenagers went missing near a West Bank settlement. The three, all students at a Jewish seminary, went missing late on June 12 as they were hitchhiking between Bethlehem and Hebron and are believed to have been kidnapped. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Netanyahu also repeatedly declared that he also holds the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas directly responsible, even though the incident took place in areas under total Israeli control. He quickly used the incident to justify his position that peace cannot be negotiated with a Palestinian leadership affiliated with Hamas, for which he was attacked by the Israeli opposition. Netanyahu did not mention Israel’s long-standing security coordination with Palestinian security forces, unlike several other Israeli officials, who have come out saying they are pleased with the...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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