UPDATES 8 am Israel time, Wednesday, July 2 2014:
*More dramatic facts emerged yesterday about the murders of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’ar, and Naftali Fraenkel.
First, the entire telephone phone call–that lasted 2 minutes and 9 seconds–that took place between murdered teen Gilad Sha’ar and the police emergency dispatcher was released to the public and played endlessly on Israeli television last night. What we did not know until now:
–As soon as Sha’ar whispered “They’ve kidnapped me”, he and the other two teenagers were ordered to keep their heads down, and then multiple gunshots were heard. The boys can be heard crying out in pain as they were shot.
In short, from the first moment that the recording was made available to Israeli security forces, they knew that the teenagers were probably dead.
–The voice of one of the murderers speaking in Arabic in the recording then informs another terrorist by phone: “We brought three.”
In short, from the first moment that the recording was made available to Israeli security forces, they knew that the kidnapping-murder plot involved more terrorists than just the two kidnappers.
In reference to the phone call itself, how anyone at the police emergency center could have failed to act defies comprehension. It was nothing less than an extraordinary failure on the part of the police.
But it even gets worse.
For the first time, we found out yesterday that Ofir Sha’ar, the father of Gilad Sha’ar called the police emergency center 54 times in the interval between 3:18 am and about 6 am desperately trying to get the police to act. Not only did he tell them that he thought his son had been kidnapped, he even told them the direction–toward the Hebron Hills–that he thought he had been taken.
Again, an extraordinary police failure.
But there were more facts which emerged as well about other aspects of the kidnapping-murders.
Remember the burned out car that was found? Investigators immediately discovered that the car contained blood and 8 bullet shells. The bottom line again was simply that Israeli security forces knew from the outset that the teenagers had been shot in the car.
One last piece of information which leaked out of the forensic examination of the bodies yesterday was that “external evidence” showed that at least one of the boys put up a fight in the back seat of that car.
What is there to say about all of this? The police and army knew from the beginning that the teenagers were almost certainly dead. Whether or not all of these details were made known to the parents is not known.
Should the public have been made aware of the telephone call and the results of the examination of the car? I leave it for you, dear reader, to make that call.
Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 were all buried side by side in the cemetery in Modi’in late yesterday afternoon at a graveside ceremony attended by thousands.
Their internment had been proceeded by memorial services at each of their respective homes. Each of these scenes was particularly grim as their parents and friends remembered the wonder and vivacity of their lives while standing beside their son’s flag wrapped, decomposed remains.
One could only reflect on the absolute sadness and tragedy of each family, and the sadness and tragedy for each of us in Israel: three young men murdered just as their lives were beginning, three young men who were proud Israelis and proud Zionists.
And three young men who would have expected that their government would protect them and that their government would take action in the wake of their murders.
In both cases they would have been wrong.
Not only did the police system utterly fail, but also the Netanyahu government decided last night to do nothing.
We had the usual Netanyahu spiel that “we will track down the murderers wherever they are” and “we will continue to attack Hamas in Judea and Samaria”, but the truth is that in the end, Netanyahu has proved himself to be of the same pathetic ilk as Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid, and Benny Gantz*.
This cast of cowards decided last night that they would not attack Hamas at its core in Gaza for fear of starting a war with Hamas. They cravenly decided that Hamas in Gaza is different from Hamas in Judea and Samaria–and that there is “no link of one to the other”.
Rather than risk a change to “the status quo”–a status quo that sees 5 to 10 mortars and missiles rain down on southern Israel every day and every night–Israel will just continue to do nothing.
Just as it has done nothing since 1:47 am on Tuesday morning. Since that IDF “attack” on empty buildings and empty land, Hamas-PLO terrorists in Gaza have launched 4 separate missile attacks (firing at least 12 missiles), and 2 mortar attacks (a total of 8 mortars) at the men, women, and children of southern Israel.
Nothing. Zilch. No IDF response whatsoever.
By the way, one of these mortar attacks occurred during the funeral of the teenagers.
The brave Israelis along the border with Gaza and the brave Jewish community members in Judea and Samaria are nothing more than cannon fodder for the politicians in Jerusalem.
–Thank goodness for Naftali Bennett–the only person in the cabinet who opposes the insanity of “doing nothing”.
—There was a bit of misreportage in yesterday’s israelstreet blog. Your humble servant attributed to Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon the comment from the cabinet meeting two nights ago that the appropriate response to the murder of the teenagers would be to “bomb a few empty buildings in Gaza.” Actually, it was IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz who made this comment. Ya’alon merely agreed with what he said.
But to Ya’alon’s credit, he added that Israel’s best response would be to build another community in Judea and Samaria in honor of the teenagers.
That would be a wonderful idea.