The sobering and heartbreaking reports of the murders of the three kidnapped Israeli boys are a reminder of the depths of human cruelty and of terrorists’ lust for blood. These were three school-aged teens, grabbed off the street and murdered by, it is suspected, Hamas operatives. The Associated Press reports:

The Israeli army confirmed Monday evening that authorities have located the bodies of three Israeli teenagers abducted as they made their way home from their religious school in the West Bank.
While few details were released on the exact fate of the three teens, security officials said the bodies of Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were found in an open area close to Hebron, in the West Bank, near the location where the teens disappeared. Fraenkel was a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen.
Security officials said the bodies were found Monday by civilian volunteer searchers near the village of Halhul just north of Hebron, the Associated Press reported. The teens were apparently shot soon after they were abducted while hitchhiking, the officials said.

The president never personally commented on the youths kidnapping, and as of this writing hasn’t mentioned the deaths. [See update] His spokesman gave a bland and generic comment, not bothering to mention the names of the dead teens. (“We obviously condemn in the strongest possible terms violence that takes the lives of innocent civilians.”) One can’t help but sense his general indifference toward Israel and his insistence on maintaining a perverse double-standard in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No Israeli housing project goes unremarked upon, but he has nothing to say personally about the capture and murder of three boys — by one-half of the “unity” government he continues to insist is a viable peace partner for Israel. It would be laughable if it were not so grotesque.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) issued an appropriate statement decrying the murders: “Our nation’s thoughts and prayers are with the families of Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar.  Naftali Frankel was a dual US-Israeli citizen. The killers must be held accountable. The brutal murder of these boys should leave the Administration with no illusion that a Hamas-backed Palestinian government will be a partner for peace. With these killings, the genocidal intent of Hamas has been laid bare yet again.”

The Israeli cabinet is holding an emergency meeting concerning the teens’ deaths and the launching of 16 rockets by Hamas from Gaza over the weekend. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon issued a statement: “Our mission will not be complete until all the terror organizations are deterred from attacking Israelis and understand once and for all that the people of Israel will not be threatened. I call on the international community to end all aid to the Palestinian Authority and its Hamas-backed government. President Abbas cannot continue to claim to want peace with Israel, while at the same time partnering with Hamas as they kidnap and brutally murder teenagers.” It is not clear what measures Israel can or should take to respond to the atrocity.


It would be nice to think that this latest heinous act by Hamas would be sufficient to end the demands that the Israeli government negotiate with the unity government. You would think this would lead Western powers to cease aid to the Palestinian Authority except for that part essential for anti-terror cooperation and to demands the PA to exit the unity government. That, however, is probably not in the cards.

In any event, U.S. officials should be reminded that the power behind Hamas is Iran, which acts with increasing impunity in its sponsorship of terror. This president does not let facts, even tragic ones, get in the way of his ideologically-driven policies, but that is no excuse for Congress to remain inert.

UPDATE: Obama finally condemned the killings, according to the Associated Press: “President Barack Obama is condemning what he calls a ‘senseless act of terror against innocent youth’ in the Mideast and offering U.S. help to find those who killed three teenagers. Obama is extending condolences to the families of the teens found by the Israeli military on Monday, two weeks after they were allegedly abducted by Hamas militants. Obama said in a statement, quote, ‘As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing.’ Obama is encouraging Israel and the Palestinian Authority to work together to find those responsible and is offering U.S. support. He is urging all parties to ‘refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.'” Ah, yes, the call for restraint on Israel’s behalf is a core part of the moral equivalence racket. Meanwhile, the Israeli prime minister vowed Hamas “will pay.”