Public Security Minister Aharonovitch in Gush Etzion.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Hamas must understand that kidnapping doesn’t pay, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Wednesday morning, hours after the IDF arrested 50 Hamas members who had been freed from Israeli jails as part of the “Schalit” deal.
“All the prisoners that were released in the Schalit deal were arrested. They will be interrogated and then jailed,” Aharonovitch told reporters while he visited the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.
The security cabinet, he said, had authorized these arrests as well as other steps against Hamas.
Israel has targeted the terrorist organization, since it kidnapped three teenagers from a hitchhiking post in the Gush Etzion region on Thursday night.
“Our objective is very clear: to bring the boys home and to harm the kidnappers, the terrorists who took them. The other objective is to harm Hamas, that is a terrorist organization, which executed this terror attack,” Aharonovitch said.
“We want to dramatically weaken Hamas,” Aharonovitch said, explaining that the IDF had arrested 240 Palestinians in the West Bank since Operation Brother’s Keeper began, most of them Hamas members.
“We will continue to exert heavy pressure on Hamas. They already understand the message. I hope that they will know that we won’t tolerate terror attacks and kidnapping,” Aharonovitch said. In the past, Aharonovitch said, he had made conditions worse for Hamas members in Israeli jails and security prisoners in general.
The security cabinet, he said, has authorized him to take additional steps. But he did not elaborate. Aharonovitch added that reports of the police failure to respond to a call from one of the teens, saying he had been kidnapped, should be investigated.
But he cautioned, “I heard the tape. It is very hard to understand.” He added, however, that one day, the tape would be published.