Israel just cleared for reporting kidnapping of three teens was assisted by Hamas in Gaza, and Israel had the mastermind in custody for weeks.
Paul Hirschson from the Israeli Foreign Ministry discloses that the order to kidnap three Israeli teens, whose bodies were found in June, came from Hamas in Gaza:
— Paul Hirschson (@paulhirschson) August 5, 2014
Why is this important?
Because Katie Zavadski of NY Magazine spread far and wide the story that Israel essentially made up the claim that Hamas was behind the kidnapping (note – the link goes to an updated version of the NY Mag story — original headline below).
(Screen capture via Seth Frantzman)
That assertion was based on tenuous and speculative reporting by Sheera Frenkel of BuzzFeed and Jon Donnisson of the BBC that an Israeli police official, who was not even in charge of the investigation, had admitted that at most it was a “lone cell” of Hamas in the West Bank.
I explored this development in NY Magazine’s contribution to the propaganda war against Israel
The police official denied making the statement.
But that narrative, of a fake Hamas involvement exploited by Israel, went viral. As of this writing, it has been shared directly over 280,000 times, and probably a multiple of that based on others writing about it:
It has become part of the media backdrop. I even heard a pro-Palestinian commentator mention it last night on CNN.
But according to reports released by Israel this afternoon, Hamas was involved. The Jewish Press reports:
Released for Publication:
Hussam al-Kawasmeh, the terrorist who planned and commanded the terror cell that kidnapped Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Sha’ar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, has been arrested.
Kawasmeh was taken into custody three weeks ago in a joint Shin Bet – IDF sting operation in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat….
He confessed under interrogation to having masterminded the terrorist attack, and to having obtained financing for the operation from Hamas in Gaza.
The Hebron resident had attempted to escape to Jordan using false identity papers as soon as the bodies of the three young Israeli teenage murder victims were unearthed from their hurriedly dug, shallow stony graves in a field along Highway 60 just north of Hebron.
Under interrogation, Kawasmeh confessed that he masterminded the operation to kidnap and murder the boys. Marwan Kawasmeh – his kinsman – and Amar Abu Aisha, both also residents of Hebron, are suspected of being the ones to having joyfully carried out those plans. The actually gunshots that murdered the boys and the celebrations of their attackers after the murders in the getaway car were heard on a recording made by police via a call from one of the boys as he desperately sought rescue. The two murderers, meanwhile, remain at large.
Among other things, the interrogation also revealed that the terror cell that kidnapped and murdered the boys received orders and financing from Hamas in Gaza and overseas.
The search for the two operatives continues.
The Times of Israel further reports:
While Hamas denied responsibility for the kidnapping, The Times of Israel has learned that Hussam Kawasme has a brother active in Hamas who was freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and deported to Gaza. It’s thought that the order to carry out the kidnapping came from there.
Those responsible work under the auspices of former Palestinian interior minister Fathi Hammad with another senior Hamas official in Ankara, Salah al-Arouri, who are responsible for planning dozens of attacks in the West Bank.
According to Palestinian security sources, there is little doubt that the group that carried out the kidnapping is linked to Hamas’s leadership abroad.
What is Frenkels’ reaction so far? She’s checking back with her sources:
Israeli media report that Hussam Qawasmeh, who was arrested with his family in Hebron 3 weeks ago, has admitted under interrogation 1/2
— Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) August 5, 2014
that he led Hamas cell in West Bank. Checking back in with intel sources who said as recently as last week that Hamas was not involved 2/2
— Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) August 5, 2014
Seriously, did Frenkel, Donnisson, New York Magazine, and Zavadski ever consider that the Israelis might have more information than they were disclosing? And that maybe they were playing things close to the vest — such as an arrest — so as not to tip others off.
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