European MPs Condemn Kidnapping in Joint Declaration
Over 20 European members of parliaments (MPs), hailing from 15 different European countries, signed a joint declaration condemning the kidnapping of Gilad Sha'ar, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19 last Thursday night by terrorists.
"We support Israel's right to defend its citizens from acts of war and terror, as is the duty of every sovereign nation. We condemn in the strongest terms the recent kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and demand that the Palestinian Authority actively assist in securing their safe return," read the joint statement.
The declaration was signed during the Israel Allies European Summit held in Budapest. The Summit, held in the Hungarian capital from Saturday to Monday, aimed to "address the future of Europe-Israel relations in light of the recent European election results and the rise of the extremist right in Europe."
MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) took part in the Summit, reporting "the day began with the Israeli delegation praying together with 12,000 Christians for the welfare of the three boys, and ended with our assisting in the drafting of this resolution."
"We described the sad and worried mood in Israel to the members of parliament and they drafted this declaration without hesitation," added Lipman.
Lipman was accompanied by Tourism Minister MK Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu), MK Ya'akov Margi (Shas) and MK Gila Gamliel (Likud).
The European signatories included Secretary of the Italian Senate Lucio Malan, Czech Republic Vice President of the Senate Premysl Sobotka, Chairman of the Israel Allied Caucus in the Dutch Parliament Joel Voordewind, and MPs from a range of countries, as well as from the European Union (EU).
As part of the European gestures of support, several French MPs arrived in Israel on Monday especially to visit the families of the three kidnapped teens.
The delegation began its visit at the Frenkel family home in Nof Ayalon, south of Modi'in, and is due to visit the other homes in Talmon east of Modi'in in Judea, and Elad to the east of Tel Aviv. Afterwards they are set to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
It is worth noting that despite the support in context of the kidnapping, which Netanyahu has accused Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas of conducting, the EU welcomed a recent Hamas-Fatah unity government.
Indeed, a delegation of EU officials traveled to Gaza last Wednesday to meet Gaza-based members of the unity government. Their visit came on the heels of one by the UN's official envoy Robert Serry last Monday, when he became the first senior international diplomat to meet with members of the new unity government.
Hamas is on the EU's list of terrorist organizations. That listing specifically includes both "Hamas" and "Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem," meaning that both the military and governmental branches of Hamas are recognized as terror groups by the EU.