Israeli leaders on Sunday suggested they might start killing Hamas officials in response to last Thursday’s abduction of three Jewish youths near Hebron.
Israel has determined that Hamas was behind the abduction, and over the weekend the Israeli army arrested 150 of the group’s leaders in the so-called “West Bank.” (pictured - the arrest of Hamas co-founder Hassan Yousef)
Israel’s cabinet met on Monday to discuss what it could do with the incarcerated Hamas leaders that would put enough pressure on the group to release the captive Israeli boys.
The leading proposal appeared to be exiling the more senior Hamas officials and activists to the Gaza Strip, and Israeli experts were checking whether or not they could legally do so under international law.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, meanwhile, had a more severe take on the matter. “We will know how to exact a very heavy price from the leaders of Hamas wherever and whenever we find it appropriate and from whomever ponders the notion of harming the citizens of Israel or disrupting their lives,” he said during an event in Jerusalem.
Israeli media interpreted Ya’alon’s remarks to be a warning that Israel would resume the practice of targeted killings against the Hamas leadership.
A Facebook campaign started by Israelis wondered why Israel needed to bother with targeted military operations when it already has all the Hamas leaders in jail. The campaign calls on the Israeli government to execute a Hamas leader every hour until the three abducted youth are returned. By midday Monday, the campaign had garnered over 15,000 “Likes”.