Here in Israel, as throughout the world, prayers and hopes abound for the safe return of the three teenagers ruthlessly abducted by Palestinian terrorists. Most governments have condemned the kidnappings and have demanded the return of the boys.
The US has taken a position consistent with that of other nations. President Obama has not formally addressed the issue of the kidnapping, apparently too busy with improving his golf. Rather, the White House released a statement of Twitter:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of 3 Israeli teens who were kidnapped last week. May they be reunited with their sons soon.
The State Department also put out a statement of its own:
The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home. We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services. We understand that cooperation is ongoing.
We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement. As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.
So what’s missing here? The obvious point is that one of the “three Israeli teenagers” happens to be an American citizen. Why are the highest bodies in the U.S. government ignoring the fact that one of their own fellow citizens has been kidnapped, apparently by a U.S.-designated terror organization? Why does the U.S. simply call the kidnapped boys a bunch of Israeli teens, when one is a full-fledged, passport-toting American citizen? If President Obama were to be injured here, would the State Department decry the injuries suffered to “a tourist visiting Israel”? Would they not state that the man in question was an American citizen and thus worthy of American help and concern?
I have written previously about the lack of US prosecutions of the dozens of Palestinian terrorists who wounded and killed scores of American citizens during the Second Intifada (see here and here). The U.S. has treated American terror victims, even those who were briefly visiting Israel or studying overseas for a year, or even contractors hired by the U.S. government itself, as somehow being “sabra” Israelis who deserve sympathy but not much more. President Obama recently made a statement after the U.S. successfully captured the apparent mastermind of the Benghazi attack:
White House and Pentagon officials publicly confirmed the capture late Tuesday morning. At an event in Pittsburgh, President Obama also said the capture is a “message to the world” about what happens when Americans are attacked. “No matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice,” Obama said. In a written statement, the president thanked the “painstaking efforts of our military, law enforcement and intelligence personnel,” and said the suspect would “now face the full weight of the American justice system.”
After President Obama made his statement, I took the liberty of asking the director of the Department of Justice Office for Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism whether the President’s words applied to cases of American citizens harmed by Palestinian terrorists. She never wrote back, though it was the large number of Americans killed and wounded here that led to the creation of her very office in 2005. Her lack of response was no surprise, as the U.S. has generally seen terror victims as a burden.