(Source: Israel Defense Forces)

On June 12th, 2014, three Israeli teens between the ages of 16 to 19 were abducted while hitchhiking near the Alon Shvut settlement in Judea. The young men realized they were in trouble after they accepted a ride from two men, and one of the teens called the police and attempted to whisper that he has been kidnapped. The two attackers believed to be Hamas members Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha, heard the phone call and shot the hostages; the recording of the call include automatic weapons being fired.

The bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Shaar are found after 18 days of expansive searches on behalf of the IDF and Shin Bet. Their bodies were buried under a pile of rocks in a field just about  30 kilometers from the site of their abduction. Their abduction and killing directly resulted in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, which included Israel Defense Forces infantry units entering Gaza territory and destroying tunnels dug by Hamas which reached surrounding Israeli villages.

The abduction increased the already heightened tensions between Israel and both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority after an Obama administration-led peace initiative collapsed in  April of that year. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the teens’ disappearance and deaths. During the searches for the missing teens, called Operation Brother’s Keeper by the Israeli security forces, the IDF searched thousands of homes in the West Bank and arrested over 400 Palestinians. Some far-right Israeli activists rioted within Palestinian villages as a form of retaliation for the abduction and killing.

In response to the Israeli military activity, Hamas fired rockets into Israel from Gaza, and Israel retaliated with airstrikes on Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip. The back-and-forth violence leads to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which began on  July 8 and lasted exactly 50 days. The operation escalated from airstrikes to an eventual and inevitable Israeli ground offensive. 

At the time, the Palestinian Authority was trying to deflect some of the blame by claiming that Hamas is not under their rule and the abduction took place in an area under Israeli control. PM Benjamin Netanyahu responded: "The claim that the Palestinian Authority bears no responsibility because the incident was carried out in territory under Israeli control is a fundamentally unfounded claim. Even when terrorist attacks were carried out in the center of the country, the one responsible was the PA, which controls the place from which the hazards came. This is exactly the case: the dangers came out of PA territory and therefore the PA is responsible. "


Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy