Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, right, confers with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon..
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Israel will continue to strike terrorists wherever they are, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, following the killing of the two Palestinians wanted for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens this summer.
Netanyahu said when the bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil- Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah were found in late June, he pledged that Israel would not rest until “we will get to the last of the perpetrators, and it does not matter where they will hide.”
On Tuesday morning, he said, that pledge was fulfilled.
“I said from the very first that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and murder, and as the evidence that we brought mounted, Hamas admitted that it was also behind that attack,” he said.
Netanyahu, who thanked the security services for their efforts, said he spoke to the families of the murdered teens in the morning, and said while nothing could balm their pain or bring the boys back, “there was justice, and we carried out the mission that we pledged before them and the entire nation that we would carry out.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon praised security forces for finding and killing the murderers, saying “everyone who attempts to harm Israeli citizens will know that Israel will not rest until it finds everyone threatening its peace and the well-being of its citizens.” He said he hoped the news that security forces had found the killers would bring some solace to the families of the boys.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also praised security forces for killing the boys’ murderers.
“The war on terror must be uncompromising and every terrorist acting against the State of Israel must know that we will reach him and make him pay the price,” Herzog said. The Labor leader expressed hope that the Fraenkel, Shaer and Yifrah families’ pain was at least slightly alleviated by justice being brought.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said the killers’ bodies should not be turned over to their families until Hamas in Gaza returns the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to Israel.
“Israel proves once again that it knows how to bring justice to anyone who tries to lift a hand against us,” Elkin stated.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria chairman Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) said his panel will study Operation Brother’s Keeper, as the search for the teens and then their murderers was called.
“Following the success of the Shin Bet, the IDF and Yamam in striking the terrorists, the time has come to learn lessons and act to make improvements,” Yogev said. The subcommittee will ask police why it did not take action for hours after Gil-Ad Shaer called them, if lack of cell phone service in parts of the West Bank could have interfered with the investigation, and more, with the goal of preventing future kidnappings.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said: “every despicable terrorist should know that he is marked for death.”
“The security forces’ success in killing the terrorists is a success for the State of Israel and the removal of a curse before the new year,” he added.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said the message the killing sent is that “terrorists should be eliminated... We will not rest and not be quiet until justice is brought to the last terrorist.”
MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) heard the news that the terrorists were killed while she was in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where she prayed for the boys’ safety after they were kidnapped.
“There is no doubt that killing these cruel terrorists is the best answer to Arab terrorism,” she said. “As King David wrote [in Psalms 18]: ‘I will pursue my enemies and overtake them and I will not return until they are destroyed.’”