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President Obama urged “all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation” after the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teens were found.

Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, were kidnapped from the kibbutz Kfar Etzion in the West Bank. Naftali was a dual citizen with an American passport.

The youths were walking home from their yeshiva about halfway between Jerusalem and Hebron, possibly hitchhiking as public transportation in the area is scarce. One of the boys reportedly got a call into Israeli police to say “we’re being kidnapped” at about 10:30 p.m. before the line was disconnected.

“With heavy grief, this evening we found three bodies. All signs indicate that they are the bodies of our three abducted youths – Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of this evening’s security cabinet meeting.

“They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals. On behalf of the entire Jewish people, I would like to tell the dear families – the mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and brothers and sisters – we are deeply saddened, the entire nation weeps with you. We will give the boys a proper burial. ‘Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created.’ Neither has vengeance for the blood of three pure youths, who were on their way home to meet their parents, who will not see them anymore,” Netanyahu continued.

“Hamas is responsible – and Hamas will pay.”

Obama said in a statement that “as the Israeli people deal with this tragedy, they have the full support and friendship of the United States.”

“As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth,” he said. “From the outset, I have offered our full support to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice, and I encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue working together in that effort.”

Less than a week ago, Leehy Shaar, the aunt of Gilad, was on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers and the administration to help Israel find the boys.

“Yes, this happened in Israel, but we all know that the terrorists can make this happen any place in the world and to anyone,” Shaar said. “We must stand strong against all the terrorists and all the terrorist organizations… the terrorists will not break us, no matter what they try to do.”

Shaar met with committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), both at the press conference along with Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), and Grace Meng (D-N.Y.).

Royce said the kidnappings can be traced to “decades of demonization of Israelis by the Palestinian Authority” and the “genocidal aspirations of Hamas.”

“We as members of Congress feel that it is important to stand beside these three teens and call upon our government to work with the government of Israel in every way,” the chairman said.

Engel stressed that “as long as we don’t do anything to combat terror, we are in essence condoning terror.”

Royce stressed today that “the brutal murder of these boys should leave the administration with no illusion that a Hamas-backed Palestinian government will be a partner for peace.”

“With these killings, the genocidal intent of Hamas has been laid bare yet again,” he added.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said “there are no words of condolence or solace that can ever comfort the bereaved families of Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal.”

“Hope for their recovery has transformed into mourning… This act of terrorism strikes at the heart of freedom loving people the world over and we stand with Israel as it works to bring to justice those who committed this murderous act,” Menendez added. “Over these past 18 days, the Jewish community and people of good faith in New Jersey, the United States, and throughout the world demonstrated an unbreakable unity of spirit in praying for Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal’s swift return. That strength will only endure.”

“The individuals who kidnapped and caused the deaths of these innocent teens need to be held accountable for their cruel and cowardly deeds,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.).

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki opened today’s briefing just about 20 minutes after the news broke in Jerusalem.

“We have seen the reports. I don’t have anything to confirm from here. I would point you to the government of Israel. Certainly, as we’ve said many times throughout the course of the last several weeks, the kidnapping and of course any harm that has been done to these teenagers would — is a — is a tragedy. We’ve been in close touch with the Israelis and the Palestinians over the course of the last several weeks. I don’t have any new calls to update you on as of this morning,” Psaki said.

She stressed that the message of “restraint” urged by the U.S. government as the Israeli Defense Forces went hunting for suspects “certainly” still applies.

“We have — as you noted, been in touch with both sides and have been urging continued security cooperation that the Israelis and the Palestinians continue to work with one another on that and we certainly would continue to urge that in spite of, obviously, the tragedy and the enormous pain on the ground as a result,” Psaki said.

When asked if Hamas involvement in the slaying of the three boys, as Netanyahu contends, would finally convince the administration to cut off aid to the Palestinian unity government, she replied, “We do look at all kinds of information as it relates to our relationship with the Palestinians — our relationship with any — any entity that we work with.”

“So, I’m not going to make a prediction. I don’t know what the outcome will be of the final findings.”

UPDATE 6:15 p.m. EST: Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in, calling the deaths of the three teens “simply devastating.”

“We all had so much hope that this story would not end this way. As a father, there are no words to express such a horrific loss that shakes all people of conscience. We pray for these three boys and their families, and together we grieve with all the people of Israel. Knowing that Naftali was also an American citizen makes this an especially heavy blow not just to Israel, but to the United States,” Kerry said.

“We condemn this despicable terrorist act in the strongest possible terms. The killing of innocent youths is an outrage beyond any understanding or rationale, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. This is a time for all to work towards that goal without destabilizing the situation.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I agree that restraint should be exercised.

The Israelis should hunt down, and execute, in a very restrained manner, of course, every Hamas member they can find
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would wager that the Prime Minister means what he says and Hamas will pay a price.

I didn't even bother reading the Obama quotes. His words have no meaning.
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21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope the Israelis tell obama to screw himself, and lay waste to anyone even tangentially associated with Hamas.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (61)
All Comments   (61)
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I assume the Israelis have had enough sense in the past few years to make themselves militarily independent of Washington. That is to say that they have stockpiled enough weapons of all types and sizes and enough ammunition so that they will never again be in the position of running out of arms at a crucial moment and having to turn to America the blackmailer for assistance. If that is the case it is incumbent on Israel not only to punish Hamas but to TAKE BACK THE WEST BANK. That and only that would radically change Israel's strategic position for the better. It would mean pushing the Palestines out and into their homeland, Jordan. Considering that the Palestines make no bones about murdering Jews as their highest priority, pushing them back across the Jordan is the ONLY way to insure that scores of thousands of Jews won't be murdered in future. Compared to that it's not much of price to pay to hear the twin anti-Semites Obama and Kerry rail at those damned Jews after the operation is completed.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
BOHICA--Every time there is too much peace the muslims do something to mess it up until the Israelis change their behavior. So ignore o and do it in a New York minute. Why would anyone listen to the leader of a third world country( or soon to be),
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
N has a very soft mouth as we say of bird dogs. He simply will do nothing more than mollify, and his actions will fall far short of deterrence.

He will blame the US, and should be he and his people are not going to get tough enough to stop them.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just because the 'Hafrican Queen" is a world class "wuss",doesn't mean Netanyahu is going to pull an obama.He's been at this a little longer than"Bath House Barry"
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama always urges "bold moves" and "courage" when he wants Israeli retreats, but "restraint" and "caution" when Israel attempts to fight.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"As a father", always about ME....
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
IF he's a father.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, Netanyahu is the one calling for (relative) restraint; right now the cabinet is split between those who want to give the usual "proportional" response and those who want to give a response that is truly "proportional" to what they did.

I'm sorry to bring in politics; we're all in mourning.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jewish Democrats would be wise to meditate upon Democrat policies toward Israel and the Middle East.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry Knot. I was going to tell you good comment and meant that other as a stand alone comment.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
All I can tell Israelis that if the time should come in my lifetime as long as I am physically capable, if you need somebody to man a gun, carry water, drive a truck, wrap a bandage, or just be a consoling friend, I will be there when the time calls for it.

I will not stand idly by sucking my thumb and watch genocide happen to the only ally in the world that could truly understand 9/11.

And I've got a long memory about Palestinians dancing in the streets. Any sympathies I had for their plight died that day.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, there IS a IDF program for foreign volunteers, although for various good reasons they are not employed as combat soldiers. Google it.

As an Israeli, I thank you for your offer, but we don't lack men who are willing to fight. We -- like the west in general -- lack leaders who do, if on a lesser scale than the enunchs in the White House, Brussels, or NYT headquarters.

Those guys know how to threaten, boycott, censure and abandon Israel -- since that is completely safe -- but nothing more.

Also, in principle, we never accept foreigners soldiers as our defenders (as a group; individuals can volunteer, as I said).

Any nation which relied on foreign blood to save it was destroyed, once the leaders of the foreign nation had to win an election on the "bring our boys home" principle.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your last two paragraphs make no sense in light of Tex's offer to help as one person, in friendship with the Israeli nation. Perhaps you have not read his comments over the years.

I'll take Tex over the average four or five Tel Aviv cafe types any day.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry about being unclear. As I wrote, individuals - like Tex -are more than welcome; I was just noting that Israel will not rely on foreign *forces*.

There was a long history of brave individuals who had done what Tex suggests. Starting with Orde Wingate, known in Israel to this day simply as "The Friend", through the war of independence's "mahal" unit (from the Hebrew acronym of "foreign volunteers"), etc.

As for the left-wing self-important jerks from TA's cafes, I agree 100% with you, too.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bless you.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama Who.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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