Israeli soldiers receive instructions at the start of a search for three missing Israeli teens, feared abducted in the West Bank on June 12, in the village of Halhul near the West Bank city of Hebron, Sunday, June 29, 2014.
Three Israeli teenagers who disappeared more than two weeks ago in the occupied West Bank were reportedly found dead on Monday, the BBC and other news outlets reported.
Naftali Frenkel (who also holds an American passport), Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach were last seen hitchhiking near Hebron. Their disappearance sparked a massive social media campaign, under the hashtag #bringbackourboys.
As news broke of the discovery, Israeli officials quickly imposed a gag order, making it hard for Israeli journalists to report on the news, but an official told The New York Times that the Israeli Army found the three bodies buried “in a field near Hebron.”
On Monday, Israeli forces went into Palestinian towns in the area, killing five people and arresting more than 400 others during their sweep, the Washington Post reported.
The teenagers' disappearance — and how it was covered inside and outside Israel — highlighted a fundamental difference of perspective between Israelis and Palestinians. AsJodi Rudoren put it in The New York Times:
Most Israelis see the missing teenagers as innocent civilians captured on their way home from school, and the Palestinians who were killed as having provoked soldiers. Palestinians, though, see the very act of attending yeshiva in a West Bank settlement as provocation, and complain that the crackdown is collective punishment against a people under illegal occupation.
Israeli officials have accused the militant group Hamas of abducting the teenagers — an accusation Hamas has repeatedly denied.
"As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing," President Barack Obama said in a statement on Monday. "From the outset, I have offered our full support to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice, and I encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue working together in that effort. I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation."
Tags: ISRAEL, US & World, WORLD