Hamas on Monday strongly condemned the continued Israeli security crackdown on its representatives in the West Bank as a "cowardly act."
The Islamist movement also renewed its appeal to the Palestinian Authority to halt security coordination with Israel.
Responding to the arrest of dozens of its members in the West Bank, Hamas said in a statement that the crackdown was a "flagrant violation of all international conventions and a cowardly act that exposes the spirit of defeatism and wallow" among Israeli leaders.
"The frivolous occupation reaction of arresting Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and holding them hostage won't achieve any goal," the Hamas statement said. "It will only increase our people's determination to proceed with their steadfastness and resolve until they achieve their demands and legitimate goals."
Hamas called on the PA to reject the mass arrests in the West Bank and immediately stop security coordination with Israel.
Hamas also appealed to the Arab and Islamic countries to "denounce Zionist crimes" against the Palestinians.
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said that his movement was "honored" to be accused by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
of standing behind the kidnapping of the Israeli youths.
However, al-Masri pointed out that Hamas has not claimed responsibility for this "honor."
The Hamas official rejected any description of the kidnapped youths as "teenagers," insisting they are "soldiers."
Another Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, Ahmed Bahar, warned Israel of the consequences of arresting the Hamas men in the West Bank.
"The abduction of the [Hamas] legislators is a political crime and a violation of international law," Bahar told reporters in Gaza City during a sit-in protest to express solidarity with striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The Palestinians, he added, are entitled to "resist occupation with all available means."
The Hamas official urged Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to order an immediate halt of security coordination between the Palestinians and Israel.
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