How Israel Could Respond To Teen Deaths

Israeli politicians have offered mixed responses on how to punish those responsible for kidnapping three Israeli teenagers.
Posted at 3:39 PM, Jul 01, 2014

The high-profile kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers has prompted round-the-clock news coverage in Israel — and with it, a debate over bringing the perpetrators to justice.

"The escalation continues on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip as the Israeli Air Force hit 12 targets in Gaza and two Palestinians." (Via i24News)

The Jerusalem Post reports Israel launched another round of airstrikes Monday night aimed at Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip. The airborne assault was reportedly launched in response to eight rockets fired into to Israel.

The strikes just hours after the three bodies were found buried in the West Bank. The teens disappeared while hitchhiking earlier this month. (Via Twitter / @IDFSpokesperson)

Israel is holding Palestinian militant group Hamas responsible for the kidnapping and murders, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed retribution. But Israeli politicians are at odds on just what that payback should look like.

Hawkish government members are advocating an increased crackdown on Hamas. That would include deporting its leaders in the West Bank and launching more airstrikes targeting the group's stashes of missiles and rockets. (Via ABC

Among those advocating such a response is Israel's housing minister, who wrote in a statement obtained by RT: "The terrorists should be hit mercilessly. … The eternal nation is not afraid of a long journey."

But others are urging restraint — pointing to the recent rockets fired from Gaza as proof punitive measures could backfire.

One such punitive measure under consideration — new settlement construction in memory of the three teens at a time when settlement expansion in the West Bank is an already highly polarizing issue. (Via YouTube /yisraelpnm)

Israel's justice minister told Haaretz it would only hurt Israel's credibility: "Settlement construction at this stage would minimize the murders and transform it from a national issue to a political one."

For its part, Hamas — aside from praising the abduction of the teens — has denied any involvement in the kidnapping. It's warned Israel any offensive on Gaza will open "the gates of hell." (Via Euronews)

The Telegraph quotes an Israeli columnist who urged a more measured response in dealing with the group, writing: "The only thing that we must not do is bang our head against the wall and instead of achieving deterrence, end up with a stronger Hamas that enjoys international sympathy. ... We've been down that road before."

Monday night Netanyahu called an emergency meeting of his cabinet to weigh Israel's response to the kidnappings.