Police: Criticism is Legitimate but Some of it is Disparaging
The Israel Police officially responded on Tuesday evening to the criticism that has been leveled at them over the phone call made by one of the kidnapped teenagers moments after the kidnapping.
In the recording, officially released on Tuesday, one of the teens, believed to be Gilad Sha’ar, is heard whispering "they've kidnapped me!" to the operators, as shots are heard in the background.
The call, which took place at 10:25 p.m. on June 12, lasted in total for 2:09 minutes - most of which is comprised of the police trying to resume contact after the caller is abruptly cut off.
In a statement responding to the criticism over the officers’ inaction following the call, for which several top police officials have already been dismissed from their posts, the Israel Police said that while there was indeed negligence on the part of the officers, the heavy criticism did injustice to many other officers.
"The criticism is heard from every direction," said the statement quoted by Channel 2 News. "Most of it is legitimate and just, but some of it is disparaging, too disparaging, and is doing an injustice to tens of thousands of police officers, Border Policemen and volunteers who work night and day to maintain your safety."
"The contents of the phone call are difficult to listen to and the failure, unfortunately, is very serious," the statement continued. "This type of failure must not happen, and we do not take it lightly. Failure to provide an appropriate response to a call of distress is unforgivable by any measure."
The statement said, "There is no body without malfunctions. Certainly when it comes to an organization such as the Israel Police, which is facing the most complex challenges. We accept with understanding the criticism of the police’s handling of the initial stages of the event, after which a committee was formed in order to find the truth, learn lessons and make the needed reforms."
"The Commissioner adopted the conclusions in full and ordered that significant measures be taken against the commanders and police officers involved in handling the call that was received at the center - be it personal and direct involvement or involvement by virtue of their responsibility as commanders - and ordered that these individuals be removed from their roles immediately,” said the police statement.
"The Israel Police is an organization where discipline and values are a guiding light and will not compromise on any digression from these professional values and norms,” said the police.
Investigators believe the terrorists had planned to murder the teens anyway shortly after the phone call was made, but also believe the terrorists apparently panicked after the call was made and decided to kill them there and then.
It is believed that immediate action by the officers would likely not have saved the teens’ lives, but could have helped find the teens’ bodies - and possibly their killers - sooner.