Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday expressed hope that the three teenagers who were kidnapped by Hamas will be found alive, Kol Yisrael radio reported.
At the same time, he blasted Israel for its response to the kidnapping, accusing Israel of taking advantage of the situation to “wreak havoc on the ground.”
"We hope [the abductees] will be found alive because we are human and will not agree to the kidnapping or murder of innocent people," said Abbas, who spoke at a gathering in Ramallah.
Abbas’s bureau, meanwhile, warned in a statement Thursday of what it said was "ongoing collective punishment measures by Israel in all Palestinian territories, especially besieged Hevron."
These measures, the statement claimed, were affecting "hundreds of thousands of innocent residents."
The IDF launched Operation Brother’s Keeper following the kidnapping of the three students, targeting Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
So far, more than 300 Palestinian Arabs, most of them members of Hamas, have been arrested as part of the operation, including 53 of the terrorists released in the Shalit deal who were rearrested.
As part of the operation to destroy Hamas's terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, the IDF raided the offices of Hamas’s Al-Aqsa radio in Ramallah and in Hevron.
Thursday is not the first time that Abbas attacked the kidnapping. On Wednesday, Abbas accused the terrorists who kidnapped the three teens of trying to "destroy us," meaning the PA.
Despite the threats, however, Abbas has yet to actually end the unity deal. Reacting to his statements on Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office said that if Abbas was truly sincere about what he said, he would cancel the unity pact he signed with Hamas.
"Abbas’s words will be judged by the Palestinian efforts to bring the abducted boys home safely, and the real test is the cancellation of the agreement with Hamas," said the Prime Minister’s Office.