Long time Palestinian affairs reporter Avi Issacharoff yesterday reported that the plot that led to the kidnapping and killing of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel was done with the foreknowledge of Hamas’s leadership. Issacharoff’s report further buttresses Israel’s long held claim that Hamas was responsible for the kidnappings and further undermines reports that Hamas’s leadership was not connected.

Palestinian security  officials told Issacharoff about another key member of the plot:

The officials said that although the Hamas leadership repeatedly denied involvement in the attack, the terror organization’s military and political wings knew about the plans in advance and had approved similar activities.

Abed a-Rahman Ghaminat, one of the heads of a cell in Zurif (a village not far from Bethlehem) and a former resident of the village, was the Hamas military wing’s appointed leader over the Hebron area. Ghaminat was released from an Israeli prison in October 2011, and was deported to the Gaza Strip.

Based in Gaza, Ghaminat is part of Hamas’ leadership and works with Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Turkey, and is in charge of Hamas’ operations in the West Bank. Ghanimat worked  with Mahmoud Kawasme in Gaza. Kawasme recruited his brother Hussam, who lives in the Hebron to mastermind the operation. Hussam Kawasme was indicted last week.

In August as Operation Protective Edge was in progress, The Intelligencer column in New York Magazine had an item written by Katie Zavadski, a former intern for Andrew Sullivan, claimed that Israel made up the charge of Hamas’ involvement in the kidnapping. Despite going viral the story fell apart almost immediately.

Later in August Saleh al-Arouri praised Hamas for carrying out the kidnappings and killings at a conference in Turkey.

Aside from the outright denial of Israel’s claims, there has been the more nuanced approach that’s been taken by The New York Times. In reporting on Hussam Kawasme’s indictment last week the Times didn’t report that the Israeli charges were confirmed.

Hamas leaders praised the kidnapping and killing of the Israeli teenagers and have since acknowledged that the perpetrators were Hamas operatives. They have not claimed any direct responsibility.

One related point worth mentioning is that the connection between Ghaminat and al-Arouri once again underlines Turkey’s role in supporting terror. Turkey’s (and Qatar’s) complicity in terror was the subject of a Congressional hearing earlier this week.

Given the ease with which the MSM accepts claims from Hamas, the scrutiny given to Israeli officials is incredible. Especially as Israel is usually proven right.