Hussam Hassan Qawasme, the Hamas mastermind behind the June kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, has been indicted, according to a statement released today by Israel’s Shin Bet security forces. The IDF military court announced the indictment Thursday morning, nearly two months after Qawasme was arrested for his suspected role in the terror attack. A number of family members have also been implicated for assisting him in the crime.
On June 12, Hamas terrorists from Hebron kidnapped Gil-Ad Sha’er, 16, Naftali Frenkel 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, while the three were hitchhiking at Gush Etzion Junction, and shot them dead shortly thereafter when they realized that one of the teens had called the police.
According to the indictment Qawasme, a senior Hamas operative, received funding for the operation from his brother Mahmoud, a Hamas terrorist who was released to Gaza in the Gilad Schalit deal. Hussam Qawasme obtained total of at least 150,000 shekels to use for the attack, at least some of which is believed to have been transmitted by his mother and another woman who was not named.
The investigation revealed that the money was used to purchase the vehicles used in the kidnapping, as well as two M-16 assault rifles and two handguns, the latter of which were used to kill the teens. The vehicle used in the kidnapping itself was burned near the town of Dura, while the getaway vehicle was abandoned in Hebron.
The two main suspects in the actual kidnap and murder, Marwan Qawasme, a relative of Hussam, and Amar Abu Aisha, remain at large. In his confession, Hassam Qawasme named others who helped hide the two suspects.
Following the murders, Hussam and Marwan Qawasme took the bodies of the victims and transported them to a field purchased by Hussam several months prior to the attack, where they buried them.
When the bodies of the missing teens were found on June 30, Qawasme went into hiding, and planned to enlist the help of family members to flee to Jordan. The Shin Bet named these as Hisham Qawasme, 35, Jamil Qawasme, 28, and Hassan Qawasme, 45, who all currently in Israeli custody.
The ringleader was found and arrested on July 11 while hiding in the Shuafat refugee camp.
The Shin Bet said that Hussam is “the son of a family whose sons have been involved in severe terror attacks on behalf of Hamas.” His brother Hassin was involved in the bombing near the International Convention Center in Jerusalem in March 2011 and is currently serving a life sentence. Mahmoud Qawasme, another brother of Hussam, served 20 years in prison for assisting in the 2004 suicide attack in Be’er Sheva that killed 16 Israelis.
Two other brothers were also implicated for helping Hussam organize the kidnap and murder of the three teens.
I remember the night of June 30th like it was yesterday, and yet already it seems like an eternity ago. The torrential rains wouldn’t seem to stop, nor would the intense, mournful beats of my heart. It was just hours since the three kidnapped yeshiva boys’ bodies had been found in an open field, strewn heartlessly with a few rocks for cover. The rains here in Chicago began shortly after I got the news, and the thunder was enough to catch someone dead in their tracks. Perhaps it was apropos, reflective of the three little ones that were literally caught dead in their tracks, without cause, and whose stories of their final minutes only seemed to finally come together as the pieces clicked in place with the discovery their bodies. The rain that night wouldn’t stop, and neither would my heartache. I lived in Allon Shvut-the last place the three boys were seen alive- when my husband was a Rabbinical student in Israel a few years ago. I walked the street where these three boys were last seen. I have hitchhiked myself on that same road where they were picked up by heartless terrorists masquerading as Israelis.
The sky that night after the discovery of their bodies was alive with G-d’s wrath, there was no other explanation. I don’t think I’d ever quite seen so much lightening in Chicago, such a torrent of endless rain. The whole world seemed to have stopped, people hiding inside their houses, waiting out the storm. But the news day after day since that day has brought a storm that we as a nation cannot just ‘wait out’. Yes, we have endured so much tragedy, but none of it has made us stop. When will the world realize, by the grace of Gd, we are here to stay? When will our enemies stop chasing us, stop putting us into ghettos, igniting pogroms and libel against us, stop gassing us, stop bombing us, stop stealing our boys- shooting them in cold blood- and leaving them in fields of desolation? When will we have the right to defend ourselves against rockets and international rage as we attempt to push back an enemy dead set on our destruction who will stop at nothing to spill our blood? Missile launching sites in hospitals, U.N. funded schools, places of worship? How can this evil not be wholeheartedly decried and denounced by the world, a world that has itself suffered terrorist attacks from similar Muslim extremists on almost every continent?
I believe the answer, the paradox of why the world can hate us despite all the good we try to do, comes from our own Torah-from the story of the prophet Bilaam- a man at the dawn of history, part of a long line of people who tried to curse us, but whose curses ultimately turned into Jewish blessing. He was a prophet of the nations, hired by the King of the mighty kingdom of Moab who sought to destroy our peace, sought to drive us from the world. Bilaam opened his mouth to curse us, but the curse turned into blessing, and not only that, but a fascinating foreshadowing of history as well. You see, part of the blessing is somewhat curious: The text in Numbers 23:9 reads: For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Could this be a blessing- To be a lonely nation not accepted by the world around us? How can dwelling alone be a blessing? These questions bring up heady issues, but difficult as they may be to answer, the verse sure does explain a lot. It feels lonely to be a Jew in our modern times, just as it has throughout the millennia. It feels isolating and upsetting to have contributed so much to world knowledge, arts, technology, medicine, history and philosophy only to have the tide turned against us time and time again. The only reason that it makes sense for the world to shun us in such a way is that it must be part of the Divine Plan, mentioned explicitly by Bilaam so long ago. And while that knowledge might seem difficult to swallow at first glance, when I ruminate about it more deeply it means to me that there is hope. If this is what Hashem wants for us, we must know that being a nation that dwells alone will lead us ultimately to our destiny, no matter how difficult it feels along the dusty and often blood-stained gravel of the meantime. Despite the storm of world fury that is going on around us as we attend rally’s around the world and speak up for Israel, we must keep our eyes on the prize.
Operation Protective Edge was born from the mission known as Operation Brother’s Keeper. The painful lessons of the past tell us that we must not stand idly by. The famous question of whether we are our brother’s keeper comes from the story of Kayin, a man who ironically struck his brother down in a field. The Torah tells us right after this famous question is posed, that G-d informed Kayin that the blood of his brother cried out from the ground. It is now, millenniums later that the blood of our brothers cries out to us from the ground of the field once again…
The tears are warm and painful on this hot summer night, but at least I have good company. As I watch the news-so brutal and biased- and read the count of the dead Israeli soldier rise, as I watch the Jewish people coming together in solidarity as a result of being pushed together alone on our own side of defending ourselves once more, from somewhere deep down, a sixth sense of mine hears the footsteps of the Lord in the garden that is our homeland. I look outside at the torrential storms punctuating a Chicago night weeks later and endless raindrops battering my rooftop and know deep down that G-d is crying with me, his daughter, a link of His nation that dwells alone.
The murder of Mohammad Abu-Khdeir has shocked the Jewish nation because this is something Jews do not do.
Yes, some critics have repeatedly named the same handful of Jewish terrorists from over the past 20 years as examples of brutal acts of Jewish murder, but it’s always the same handful of names and no more, because simply put, we aren’t a nation of terrorists and murderers.
Our leaders, our rabbis, and our citizens instinctively, without coercion or outside pressure, and without waiting, condemned the murder, as we hoped and believed it could not be one of our own.
These weren’t empty words that ring hollow as some pundits claim.
These are the words of a people, that despite suffering through horrible terror attacks, and the strong, very natural desire for revenge it creates, almost always maintains the moral high ground that our society has ingrained into us through our Torah and value system.
We face an enemy that does horrible things. It’s an enemy that blows up its own children to kill us, that brainwashes its children into hating us, that publicly supports and celebrates the kidnapping and murder of innocent Jewish children.
We face an enemy that forces us to fight them to protect ourselves.
Our nation searched for the killers of the Arab boy, expending and redirecting resources we needed in the search for the terrorists who killed our own children and for fighting Hamas who continued to launch rockets on us throughout the entire ordeal.
Our nation unanimously condemned the murder, without qualifications or hesitation.
We didn’t destroy trains and infrastructure, we didn’t hand out candies in celebration, we didn’t post photos of praise on Twitter and Facebook, we didn’t provide support and succor to the killers. We won’t be giving them salaries in jail, we won’t be naming streets and schools after them, we won’t be demanding their release for peace. Our mother’s won’t be saying they are proud of them, our leaders won’t have photo-ops with them, we won’t parade them through the streets as heroes, they won’t be portrayed as role models for our children, and we won’t be painting murals of them on the walls of our schools.
The fires we lit were for memorial candles, and not firebombs.
Because, we are not the same.
We are a moral and righteous nation that has ingrained in itself the differences between right and wrong and good and evil, and we act on those moral impulses.
I look back on these past few day, and past few weeks, and despite this incomprehensible, sick hate crime committed by a few people, whom I don’t even know how to categorize, I see the Jewish nation – a moral nation, devoted to peace, to goodness, and to doing right.
And I am proud.
I believe in the Jewish People, if for no other reason than that it has consistently proved itself through the most difficult of trials.
From the moment the news broke out that three Israeli teens had been abducted over three weeks ago, a number of Israeli university students got together to create a major social media campaign entitled #BringBackOurBoys, directing global attention to the kidnapping. The online campaign, which went viral, garnered millions of hits with supportive tweets from such personalities as Gal Gadot, Matisyahu, Bar Refaeli, European parliamentarians and U.S. congressmen.
Emily Neilson and Daniela Traub, both 25, who study International Relations at Hebrew University and Morin Hayo-Hemo, the director of Ambassadors Online academic program at the University of Haifa, sat together shortly after hearing the radio announcement of the kidnapping on Friday, June 12. Within half an hour, the three girls along with a small group of university students who direct various student programs in Israel, created a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account with the hashtag, #BringBackOur Boys.
“Our objective in the campaign was to raise awareness in the world to what terrorists are doing to our kids, not only Israeli, but all kids around the world,” Emily Neilsen told Tazpit News Agency in a recent interview.
“We particularly wanted to show how in the Middle East, kids are falling victim to extremists that know no boundaries.”
The girls were inspired by the Nigerian campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, which had been created immediately after the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian school girls by Boco Haram terrorists.
“When tragedies like this happen, it is when people come together to help and support one another. We must say to these extremists – no to terror and no to using kids to advance extreme and hateful agendas,” said Neilsen.
“Using new media platforms allows us to get our message out to a wider group of people that want to listen and also to those that do not know, and should,” she explained.
The university students worked in shifts to man the computer 24 hours a day, receiving messages full of pictures and support from around the world during the 18 days when the search for the boys was taking place.
“We find that in most cases, when there is a situation like this, Israel is portrayed in a negative light,” said Traub, who managed the Hebrew University Situation Room during Operation Pillar of Defense in a similar social media campaign.
“People are quick to judge Israel’s actions without actually knowing why or what the reasons were behind them. Our goal was to show the world what had happened, raising awareness of the terror attack against the boys, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, before the international community became quick to judge,” added Traub.
The joint effort of a number of student organizations and the immediate response to the kidnapping was extremely effective in launching the campaign, according to Neilsen. “The Facebook account has over 115,000 likes and the campaign reached nearly 2 million people.”
“We had photos and tweets from British and French Parliamentarians, billboards across America, giant electronic ads in Time Square and elsewhere,” added Hayo-Hemo. The campaign had asked people to post a photo of themselves holding a sign, with the message “Bring Back Our Boys.
Hayo-Hemo also pointed out that supporters from different countries in the Middle East and Africa also sent heart-warming messages and photos including Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Manny Halberstam, a cousin of one of the murdered boys, Naftali Frenkel, 16, was one of those campaign participants in the United States who took part in the #BringBackOurBoys. He recently wrote about the importance of the social media campaign in a Fox News column, stating that “as we accept the cruel reality that our boys and girls never made it home, we might be inclined to think that the time and energy we poured into these campaigns were in vain.”
Just to clarify and calm the nerves on all you liberal or pro Palestine readers.
I want to make something very clear, the person or persons who were responsible for the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir are murderers of the worst kind and should be dealt with just like we SHOULD be dealing with Islamic terrorism.
That being said, there is a huge and very fundamental difference between what happened to the three Israeli teens that were abducted and murdered and the young Arab teen that was abducted and murdered. The difference lies on three different levels.
National backing of terrorists activity
NATIONAL BACKING FOR TERRORISM
Fatah, Hamas and every other Arab organization that exists in the PA territories has one time or another called for the destruction of the State of Israel. The original PLO charter clearly calls for the violent dismantling of the JEWISH STATE (no not Zionist but Jewish).
The school system under Fatah promotes martyrdom and murder through curriculum and even through the names of their educational institutions. As clearly demonstrated by Palestinian Media Watch
The most common school name PMW has found is the name Al Khansa – with at least 8 schools given her name. Al Khansa is the honored mother of Islamic tradition because she expressed joy over the Shahada (Martyrdom) deaths of her four children.
A PA schoolbook for Grade 8, explains her importance this way:
“Al-Khansa witnessed the Battle of Al-Qadisiyah with her four sons. She urged them to fight… They fought until all of them fell as Shahids. When the news reached her she said, ‘Praise be to Allah who has honored me by theirShahada.’” [Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8, p. 13]
Al-Khansa’s celebration of her four sons’ deaths makes her a perfect role model for Palestinian girls, as Palestinian society has chosen to teach that death is a greater value than life.One example of this teaching is in Palestinian Authority schoolbook for 13 year-olds that teach children: “Your enemies seek life while you seek death.” [Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8, p. 16]”
Streets in Fatah controlled areas are named after Islamic terrorists of the worst kind.
Abu Mazen the “Moderate” has never been shy to tell it like it is and often honors mass murderers and arch Islamic terrorists sitting in Israeli jail.
While the Israeli murderers of the Arab teen will be jailed, ousted and stained for life like they deserve, Arab terrorists are honored, revered and even featured on the most popular talk shows.
Here’s how an official PA government member reacted to the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens!
How does it work in Israel?
Even before any evidence was collected, many from the government already condemned the murder is the most clear tones possible. After the details were publicized, there was not a siingle Israeli leader who did not condemn this horrific murder!
We didn’t wait for facts to speak of our disgust, we did it right away with no excuses, because MURDER IS MURDER!
2. World Reaction
I have absolutely no expectations from the world and certainly not from the White House at this time.
I am not complaining or expecting change, I am simply pointing out the horrific level of hypocrisy.On June 12, 2014, three Jewish Israeli teens, Naftali Frenkel (16,), Gilad Shaer (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19), were abducted as they were on their way home from school.
Naftali Frenkel happen to hold dual citizenship and was a citizen of the United States of America. There was complete silence from Obama, the world and the UN and only on June 18th (a week later!) did the State department release a statement where they stated their concerned about the Israeli operation and demanded Israel exercise restraint.
What was even more unbelievable was the US State department would not even confirm that it was talking about a kidnapping and when asked about the American citizen involved, they did NOT even have his name!
Watch and be disgusted! (You can watch the whole thing but the embarrassment starts at 1:40)
The UN? The 3 mothers went to the UN to beg for their help.
The UN reaction?
Go ahead, Google UN reaction to kidnapped Israeli teens.
Let me know if you find anything! Hamas Condemned? No! Palestinian incitement condemned? No! Anything? NO!
When it came to the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir it took both Obama and his sidekick Kerry under 2 hours to make a statement, charge and indict Israel. It took them over a week to say boo about the 3 Israeli boys and when they did say something they said they were concerned with Israel’s reaction!
Read Kerry’s statement HEREI am not even going to begin talking about the press coverage of both murders. I had to constantly update my friends overseas since not a single major news network was covering (more than a couple of seconds) the Israeli kidnapped boys.
When it came to Muhammad Abu Khdeir, front page and feature story on EVERY single media outlet. I guess Muslim killing Jew is no story but it’s not every day you see a Jew do what you usually see a fanatic Muslim do.
3. Nation’s Reaction
Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad were missing for two weeks and while the army was out searching for their killers and figuring out what happened, the civilians of Israel were busy comforting the families and praying.
Now let’s take a look at our neighbors; the fanatic Muslims. When news spread of the kidnapping of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, there were no prayer groups or singing, this was the reaction:All videos were seen originally in Israel Video Network
Fire bombing random Jewish homes in the middle of the night
The Jerusalem light rail that runs through the Arab neighborhood was completely destroyed and millions of dollars of damage was caused by Muslim fanatics.
The Arabs actually worked for hours to rip up the tracks while trashing the train stops in their own neighborhoods.
So yes, both are horrific acts of murder and the victims families and friends will feel the pain, but NEVER compare the terrorism of individual Jews who are ousted, villainized and jailed by their country, to the fanatic Islamic and Arab terrorists who are backed, honored and encouraged by their religious and national leaders!
When it comes to track records, check the world’s most wanted terrorist lists, count the fanatic Muslims, then count the Jews.
Let me know what you come up with!
One more small detail that most of you probably forgot, we found and arrested the murderers of Muhammad Abu Khdeir in less than a week, we are still waiting for the terrorists who kidnapped and murdered Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad. Perhaps Abu Mazen wants to find an empty street to name after them before handing them over to the Israeli authorities.
On Saturday night the IDF arrested Hussam Dofesh in Hebron. He is believed to be the person that Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha called after kidnapping and murdering Naftali Frankel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach.
He reportedly turned himself in, and claims he had no part in the kidnapping.