Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, are the two Hamas operatives who are suspected of  grabbing and murdering three of our Jewish children in Israel’s Gush Etzion. 

All we have to know about the values of these two men can be summarized by the comment by Abu Aysha’s mother -- that if her son did take part in the kidnapping she was proud of him and hoped he would continue to evade capture.


In truth we already knew the faces of the kidnappers: First and foremost-- Khaled Mashaal, Hamas political chief, who weeks after calling for such action, openly blessed the abductors of the three “soldier settlers,” as he referred to teenagers, Ayal, Naftali and Gilad.

But there are others who deserve to have their faces on the Most Wanted posters: All of the political, media, educational and religious functionaries of the Palestinian Authority (PA) who daily inculcate into the minds of children, as young as 3, that their Jewish neighbors are aliens; that there is no truth to Jewish claims to a 3,500 year-link to The Holy Land; that Israeli soldier “occupiers” should be viewed and treated like Polish patriots viewed and treated occupying Nazi soldiers during World War II.

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This is a moment of truth for President Obama and the European Union leaders who rushed to endorse the new Palestinian Unity government, and provided important funding that enabled PA President Abbas to pay (off) Hamas-affiliated “technocrats.” Surely, the president must now understand that Hamas and peace are mutually exclusive.

The kidnapping/murders prove yet again that Hamas is nothing more than a murderous terror organization committed to Israel’s demise. As I write this essay Hamas has launched more missiles targeting Israeli civilians and is planning more acts of terror against Jewish mothers and children.

President Obama, on behalf of the American people, must now tell Abbas to lose Hamas or U.S. financial support for the PA will end. Perhaps that will also wake up the Europeans to stop underwriting Palestinian peace killers.

What does Israel do now?

During these horrific two weeks, Israeli forces pulled out all stops to identify the kidnappers and to bring the boys home. But they also had another goal: To signal Mashaal and other professional thugs masquerading as “political leaders” that there will be no more Gilad Shalit scenarios. Quite the contrary. 

Since the abductions, over 50 of those released for Gilad are back in Israeli jails and Hamas’ West Bank infrastructure has been significantly degraded. With blood of the three teens on Mashaal and company’s hands expect much, much stronger moves by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has wall-to-wall domestic support in the struggle against Palestinian terrorism.

Jews around the world, whatever their political affiliations, have also been deeply affected by the kidnappings. 

We should continue to back Israel’s right to do whatever it takes to safeguard its citizens. That includes rejecting the cacophony of lectures in morality from self-appointed secular priests led by NGOs like Human Rights Watch who even after the kidnappings have the chutzpah to warn Israel about what it can and cannot do to defend herself from such barbarism.

Israel should take note of who stands in solidarity with it in this time of distress and who couldn’t care less. 

As Israelis mourn their loved ones, European countries offer little by way of solidarity but continue to rail over those “illegal” settlements. 

While many of our Christian neighbors have joined us in prayer, Presbyterians at the PCUSA convention voted overwhelming to “review” the “Two State Solution,” positioning themselves as frontline actors in the next international drama calling for the end of the Jewish State altogether.

One final point. Those kids all lived in Gush Etzion. The world long ago forgot and we must always remember that Jews legally bought the plots of land that today constitute Gush Etzion before there ever was a State of Israel. 

Those pioneers from Europe and a few from the America displaced boulders and a few stray goats-- not Arabs-- when they built their communities. The slaughter of those Jewish pioneers after they had surrendered to the Arabs who overran Etzion during the War of Independence, raised as much as a fuss in Europe back in 1948 as the kidnapping of three kids from the Gush has generated today. 

Israelis living today in the Gush are no more “occupiers” that Israelis living in North Tel Aviv.

And never forget it was not the boys’ presence in Gush Etzion, but the praise of Abu Aysha’s mother for her son’s murderous abductions, that could deal a death blow to any hopes for peace.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Follow the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Facebook and on Twitter.