The Times of Israel reported What happened on the night of the kidnapping:
The prevailing assessment within the defense establishment is that the kidnappers, at least at first, only saw one of the hitchhikers, perhaps Yifrach, who did not know Shaar and Fraenkel. Only once the kidnappers’ Hyundai i35 came to a stop did the kidnappers realize that they would be outnumbered by their hostages within the small confines of the car. This may be what changed the nature of the crime from kidnapping to murder, security sources suggested. …It is likely that shortly afterward the three boys were murdered and taken to the field where they were found buried.
Recognizing, too late, that the car was not an innocent Israeli vehicle, one of the teens called the police at 10:25 p.m. and whispered, “We’ve been kidnapped.” The call was transferred immediately to a senior officer, who continued to ask questions but received no reply. The call lasted for 2:09 minutes and was then cut off. The officer called the number eight more times, but received three busy signals and reached voicemail five times.
The reactions to the abductions have highlighted certain fault lines between Israeli and Palestinian societies.
David Horovitz wrote a moving tribute to the parents of the three teens, The Insistent Humanity of the Bereaved, in which he concludes:
Remarkably, we can take our lead from the parents of the murdered teenagers, who have displayed such strength, sensitivity and concern for the rest of Israel since that fateful June 12 night. I saw this directly last Thursday, when I sat facing Rachelle Fraenkel, and she told me, among a series of extraordinary remarks, “I’m praying with all my heart. It might help. I believe it could help, especially when thousands and millions are praying. They are. But nobody owes me anything. And if tomorrow, God forbid, I’ll hear the worst news, I don’t want my children to feel that where did all my prayers go?”Looking at the other side (and picking up on a point that Horovitz made) Bret Stephens asks Where are the Palestinians Mothers? (Google search terms) Stephens answers, devastatingly:
In their different ways, each of the families urged Israelis to remain united and strong, hailed our solidarity, thanked us for our hopes and our prayers.
They refused to be tainted by the inhumanity that robbed them of their beloved sons. Our hearts go out to them.
Because everything that happens in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is bound to be the subject of political speculation and news analysis, it’s easy to lose sight of the raw human dimension. So it is with the murder of the boys: How far will Israel go in its retaliation? What does it mean for the future of the Fatah-Hamas coalition? What about the peace process, such as it is?Finally, for now, in the words of Neo-Neocon, What will be America’s reaction to murder of three Israeli teens? Noah Pollak provides an answer in Bias Against Israel and it’s not pretty.
These questions are a distraction from what ought to be the main point. Three boys went missing one night, and now we know they are gone. If nothing else, their families will have a sense of finality and a place to mourn. And Israelis will know they are a nation that leaves no stone unturned to find its missing children.
As for the Palestinians and their inveterate sympathizers in the West, perhaps they should note that a culture that too often openly celebrates martyrdom and murder is not fit for statehood, and that making excuses for that culture only makes it more unfit. Postwar Germany put itself through a process of moral rehabilitation that began with a recognition of what it had done. Palestinians who want a state should do the same, starting with the mothers.
Moments after the news broke today that the bodies of the teenagers had been found, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. was “urging restraint”—that is, urging Israel not to respond to the murder of its citizens.Pollak carefully shows that the administration’s reaction to the killings is part of a pattern not some diplomatic slip up.
Likewise the president’s condolence statement concluded with an admonition that “all parties refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.” Make no mistake—this is not a call on “all parties.” It is a call directly to Israel, as Hamas already acted to “destabilize the situation” by abducting and murdering three teenagers and it continues to “destabilize the situation” by launching dozens of rockets a day at Israel, including 16 this morning. Throughout this rocket campaign Obama issued no statements calling on Hamas to stop “destabilizing the situation.” Hamas is prosecuting a multifaceted terror offensive—and Obama’s position is to call on Israel not to respond, on the grounds that that would be “destabilizing.”
Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali are gone. It appears that they never had a chance. Will the endless incitement that led to their deaths ever stop? And will the deaf ears that refuse to hear evil, ever start to listen?