Abbas Lashes Out at Netanyahu Over Hamas Crackdown
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel's crackdown on Hamas Sunday, claiming Israel "kills Palestinians in cold blood" and that there is no "credible" information that Hamas kidnapped three yeshiva students ten days ago.
"I have no credible information that Hamas was behind the kidnapping," Abbas told Haaretz, over ten days after Naftali Frenkel (16), Eyal Yifrah (19), and Gilad Sha'ar (16) were snatched from an Alon Shvut hitchhiking post. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly blamed Hamas for the kidnappings last Saturday night, saying there is "no doubt" that the terror organization was behind the abduction.
Abbas then lamented the "killing of Palestinians" during the search and rescue effort, Operation Brothers' Keeper, for the boys' return.
"I said the kidnapping was a crime, but does that justify the killing of ... Palestinian teens in cold blood?" Abbas fired. Palestinian medics claimed Sunday that two teenagers were shot by IDF forces; the IDF spokesperson's office has yet to confirm the reports.
"What does Netanyahu have to say about the killings? Does he condemn it?" Abbas continued. "Look at what's happened all over the West Bank over the past days, the violence and the destruction of homes. Is that justified?"
"The Palestinian people are frustrated at the way Israel is treating them," he added. "We do not want war, we want peace."
The claim that the Palestinians are "frustrated" is remarkably similar to remarks from pro-Hamas MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad - United Arab List), who claimed that "frustration" justified the abduction in a series of comments last week that left her swamped with a security detail and threatened legal action to have her expelled from the Knesset.
Abbas himself, while eventually condemning the abduction, has shown little to no sympathy to the families of the kidnapped teens, making several conflicting statements about the abduction and using the incident as a media and political ploy.