MK Zehava Galon
MK Zehava GalonFlash 90

MK Zehava Galon, head of the leftist Meretz party, claimed on Wednesday that the IDF’s Operation Brother’s Keeper, launched after three teenagers were kidnapped by terrorists, is no longer effective.

Galon claimed that the operation has strayed away from its original purpose and now is used by Israel solely to punish the Palestinian Authority.

“We have to say it straight out: Operation Brother’s Keeper 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," she wrote on her Facebook page.

Galon went on to criticize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying the measures he has been taking are “political, cynical, and hurt the attention that the forces on the ground can dedicate to locate the hostages, and unnecessarily endanger the soldiers sent to Palestinian cities.”

She continued, “We need to engage in locating the abducted boys and bringing them back to their families, not creating the conditions for the next abduction.”

Galon’s comments came as the large-scale intelligence and operational activities continued. On Tuesday night, security forces arrested about 65 wanted men of which 51 were freed in 2011, when Israel released over 1,000 terrorists in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for over five years.

Since the start of the operation, said the IDF, about 240 wanted men have been arrested. About 800 homes were searched, and about 10 actions were taken against targets that are part of the “da'awa” – Hamas's "social outreach" and recruitment infrastructure.

A senior official in the IDF said Tuesday evening that "Operation Brother's Keeper" is "an ongoing battle that will not end in one week,” the official said. “Part of our strength is our ability to hold this campaign for a prolonged time period. We are hitting their corporate, political, financial infrastructure and more. Even if it fails to stop the next attack, it will have a long-term effect.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met with the parents of the abducted youths on Wednesday, telling them that “the operation is constantly evolving, day and night, and there are many operations being carried out on the ground, and as long as we have no proof that shows otherwise, our working assumption is that the boys are alive.”