The tragic news reverberated throughout the country, as three kidnapped Israeli teens were found half-buried near Hebron, bound and shot to death by Hamas terrorists. Our hearts and minds are with the Shaer, Yifrah and Fraenkel families, as they struggle to cope with the unimaginable.

Many point to this outpouring of support as evidence of collective national will and strength; but the murder of Gil-Ad, Eyal and Naftali was, in fact, a by-product of weakness.

The teens were taken because Israel itself, as a collective, has become a hostage to an illusory process that promotes only terror under the guise of seeking peace. Through having succumbed to negotiating with terrorists, the Jewish state has legitimized terrorism against it.

The Oslo Accords were signed over 20 years ago with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, who spurned peace at Camp David in 2000 in favor of the second intifada, in which hundreds of innocent Israelis were killed and maimed.

Arafat’s deputy and successor, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s current “partner for peace,” financed the 1972 Munich Massacre, denies the Holocaust and presides over a Fatah party whose charter openly calls for the Jewish state’s destruction and whose armed wing – the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades – is in step with Hamas by claiming responsibility for the kidnapping.

The PLO, the controlling faction of the PA, atop which Abbas is perched, is equally committed to Israel’s annihilation.

Essentially, then, the Palestinian government is an amalgamation of factions, each with their own terrorist militia, dedicated to eradicating Jewish sovereignty from the region.

That Israel ever agreed to engage on any level with such an entity – whether it incorporates Hamas or not – is an abomination. That it continues to do so after two decades of broken promises, outright lies and thousands of casualties is an affront to reason and to our many fallen.

The kidnapping is the result, not of the fog of war, but rather of our denial that we are, indeed, currently engaged in one. Israel continues to treat an implacable enemy – including the rabidly anti-Semitic Palestinian civilian population – as everything other than what it is, leaving our people to incur ongoing tragedies until such time that cold, hard reality sinks in: There is no Palestinian peace camp.

The three youths were abducted in what should be considered enemy territory. If they felt safe, it was a sentiment borne of a delusional process premised on the false conviction that Palestinians are committed to coexistence. There is a reason Israelis are barred from entering adjacent areas in the West Bank under Palestinian jurisdiction – because they risk death there.

The belief that the Palestinians’ genocidal hatred can be contained, within any borders, is the byproduct of wishful thinking endemic to the peace process. More perverse is that this warped worldview whitewashes the second major factor accounting for the boys’ kidnapping: Islam.

In an interview with Channel 10 after the teens were found dead, the mother of Amar Abu Eisha, one of the suspected kidnappers, affirmed that, “if he truly did it – I’ll be proud of him till my final day. I raised my children on the knees of the religion... and their goal is to bring the victory of Islam.”

It is unsurprising, then, that Abu Eisha found a home in Hamas, a jihadist organization – and not a Palestinian national movement, although it sometimes assumes this posture when beneficial – whose goal is the eradication of Israel in favor of the establishment of a Muslim caliphate.

For Hamas, the conflict with the Jewish state is not territorial, but rather spiritual. No amount of land swaps can solve such a conflict.

Only bombs and bullets can.

As Israeli-American political commentator Daniel Greenfield explains, “Hamas’ charter begins with the Koran’s praise for Muslims ‘as the best people’ and damns Christians and Jews to be ‘smitten with abasement’ for having ‘incurred the wrath of Allah.’ “There is nothing negotiable about [this expression of] supremacism.

Supremacism cannot be appeased. Supremacism does not want a piece of the pie. It wants the whole pie.”

As Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the slew of Salafist terror groups that inhabit the Palestinian territories continue to advance this goal, Israel foolishly attempts to negotiate away the problem by propping up an equally adversarial PA; all the while keeping the Gazan crocodile – and public opinion – at bay with an airstrike here or there on a half-empty weapons depot.

It is futile policy that has no chance of stemming either the rising tide of Islamic fanaticism that has promoted the murder of Jews for over 1,000 years, or the PA’s phased approach to destroying the country.

Overall, the latest tragedy is further proof that Israel is in desperate need of a paradigm shift.

Jerusalem must begin relating to the Palestinians for who they are: our sworn enemies. It must also abandon a tired and futile peace process, the ramifications of which increasingly threaten the safety of all Israelis.

Only then can a clear-eyed public debate be held as how best to proceed.

And there are other options (which I and numerous others have repeatedly advanced in these very pages).

But Israel can only move forward by first coming to terms with why it has lost three sons: the Jewish state is at war with a radicalized Palestinian people that has no interest in peace.

The author is a correspondent for i24News.

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