Hamas political leaders praise abductions like the one carried out last week in Israel.
A senior Hamas political leader has praised the organization’s kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, calling the attack “a heroic capture” and “a milestone” for the Palestinian people. The statements of Muhammad Nazal reflect the views of other Hamas leaders, who routinely glorify the abduction and murder of Israelis.
Last July, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh publicly lauded “the brave resistance, which has kidnapped and held [Israelis] captive, while liberating [Palestinian prisoners].” His statement emphasized the intentions behind Hamas abductions: to capture innocent Israelis and offer their release for convicted terrorists.
Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal echoed Haniyeh’s words during a rally in 2007. “Hamas is determined to free all the Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, be it by kidnapping more soldiers or other methods,” he declared. “We will free our Palestinian prisoners by kidnapping IDF soldiers,” senior Hamas member Mahmoud Zahar warned in 2011.
During a ceremony in 2013 marking two years since the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, a Hamas spokesperson vowed that “soldiers of the enemy can be a target anytime,” adding that “they can be killed, wounded or held captive by militants.”
At the same event, Haniyeh referred to the kidnapping of Shalit and Israel’s subsequent release of Palestinian terrorists as “an historic victory.” During a similar celebration in April 2013, Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Legislative Committee Ahmed Bacher encouraged terrorists to seek out opportunities to kidnap more soldiers.
Hamas even teaches Palestinian children to carry out kidnappings on Israeli soil. The organization runs summer camps and schools where young boys learn how to abduct Israelis. The lessons are part of a broad program that introduces youth to Hamas terrorism.
Hamas’ leaders make it clear that Israel should expect more kidnappings in the future. “We welcome operations such as these,” Hamas Spokesperson Abu Maghad said of the organization’s training efforts. “Without a doubt, they have helped us prepare for the abduction of Israeli soldiers. The resistance has emphasized this again and again.”