Daily Israel Report

Leftist MKs Slam IDF Campaign Against Hamas

Although most Israelis support Israel's campaign against Hamas, several politicians on the far left take exception to it.
By Moshe Cohen
First Publish: 6/19/2014, 6:00 PM

IDF soldiers in Shechem
IDF soldiers in Shechem
Flash 90

Although most Israelis in politics and out support the IDF's campaign against Hamas in the wake of the terror group's kidnapping of three Israeli teens, MKs on the far left have sharply criticized Israel's actions.

MK Dov Hanin of the communist Hadash party slammed the IDF campaign, saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was conducting “a campaign to tear apart the Palestinian government and to conduct mass arrests under the cover of 'concern' for the fate of the teens.”

The crackdown on Hamas, Hanin said, “just guarantees that there will be a further deterioration in relations between the two sides, the continuation of the cycle of blood and pain.”

In the wake of the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens - Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16), and Gilad Sha'ar (16) - last week, Israel has vowed to deliver a “crushing blow” to Hamas' infrastructure in Judea and Samaria. Plans to move against the Islamist terrorist movement were discussed at a meeting Monday of the security cabinet convened by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at which ministers discussed punitive steps against Hamas which Israel says is behind the kidnapping of three teenagers, media reports said.

Ministers called for harsh retribution against Hamas. “Hamas terrorists are responsible for this kidnapping,” said Finance Minister Yair Lapid“The security of Israelis requires us to adopt a no-tolerance policy for any and every act of terror. We must ensure that those responsible are harshly punished.” 

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon declared that Israel “shall make the leaders of Hamas pay, and they will pay when we decide the time has come to collect the debt. This will be the fate of anyone who tries to injure Israeli citizens.”

On Thursday, Yaalon enacted a ban on Islamic Relief, a "charity" accused of funneling funds to the Islamist group.

And Economics Minister Naftai Bennett said that “we will find the people who planned, carried out, and assisted this kidnapping."

"The other side has to feel pain and realize that we will get to the planners and executors of this action," Bennett said. “Right now the government is planning a series of actions that will be taken against those involved that will ensure that the understand that these actions are not in their best interests.”

For Hanin, however, maintaining good relations with the Palestinians – even Hamas – was more the priority. “Only by truly promoting peace and justice between the two nations can we hope to live together. We must end the terrible occupation that has cost so much,” he said.

MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) concurred.

Writing on his Facebook page, Horowitz said that “we all want the boys to return home, and we understand that action is necessary to bring this about. But what does this have to do with what is going on right now? Why is there a collective punishment against thousands of people? How is this campaign helping us to return the victims? The campaign is just promoting tensions, and increasing the risk to victims, both Israeli and Palestinian.”

On Wednesday, Meretz party head MK Zehava Galon said that the IDF operation “is losing any connection to its original purpose, which was bringing the kidnapped boys home, and is becoming an operation with an agenda of punishment against the Palestinian Authority.”

Netanyahu, she wrote on here Facebook page Wednesday, is conducting a campaign that is “political and cynical, and hurts the attention that the forces on the ground can dedicate to locate the hostages, and unnecessarily endanger the soldiers sent to Palestinian cities. We need to engage in locating the abducted boys and bringing them back to their families, not creating the conditions for the next abduction.”