Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the deaths of the three Israeli settlers who had apparently been abducted from a settlement near Hebron in the West Bank.
Yesterday evening, Netanyahu vowed that “Hamas will pay” for the “murder” of the three Israeli settlers. Israel has no proof that Hamas stood behind the incident except what it said that two Hamas members from Hebron disappeared at the same time when the settlers went missing.
Netanyahu said it was “with great sorrow that we found the three bodies” of the settlers who “were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by beasts… Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay,” he said.
Israeli media sources reported that the Israeli Security Council convened immediately after finding the bodies of the settlers. Differences among Israeli ministers undermined taking a decision on how to respond to the “murder”.
According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, extremist Economy Minister Naftali Bennett was furious at suggestions that the army bomb structures in the Gaza Strip, saying a much stronger response was required.
Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni denounced Bennett’s opinion and called for a “more measured response”.
The differences were not resolved and Netanyahu concluded the meeting calling for stronger action. Times of Israel said the ministers agreed to meet this evening to continue discussing the issue.
Meanwhile, Hamas downplayed Netanyahu’s threats against Gaza and threatened “the gates of hell will open” should action be taken.
“The story of the disappearance and killing of the three settlers is based on the Israeli narrative only,” Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP. “The Israeli occupation is trying to refer to this narrative in order to justify its wide-scale war against our people, against the resistance and against Hamas.”
“If Netanyahu launches a war against Gaza, the gates of hell will open on him,” Abu Zuhri added on his Facebook page.
Abu-Zuhri made it clear that Hamas is not “interested” in any war, but if Israel started the war, it would not surrender. “War will be completely different this time,” he said.
Israel officials announced the discovery of the bodies of the three settlers that went missing on June 12. The teens were buried side by side today
From the moment news of their disappearance was made public Netanyahu placed blame on Hamas. The group denied the claims.
Israel carried out an all-out campaign against Hamas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It arrested more than 500 Hamas leaders and member in the West Bank, killed five Palestinians and carried out airstrikes against Hamas facilities in Gaza.