Despite a phone call from one of the teenage boys and an official notification at 10:45 that three boys had been kidnapped Thursday night, Israel police waited more than three-and-a-half hours Thursday night before alerting IDF officials that three teenagers had been abducted.
According to Honenu, an Israeli legal aid organization, police and security forces spent the interim period rounding up Jews from Yitzhar.
At around 3 am Friday, a large contingent of police, Yasam paramilitary troops, spies and members of the Jewish section of the Shin Bet internal security service attacked the community and arrested three teenagers, two 16-year-old brothers and an 18-year-old. The brothers are suspected of involvement in several anti-Arab security incidents near Yitzhar and were interrogated at the police station in Ariel. Sunday, too, security forces took time off of the search for the teenage hostages in order to re-stain the two teens. They also detained the boys’ father, in an apparent attempt to pressure the boys.
According to a statement by Honenu, the suspects said they would refuse to cooperate with security forces “as long as Jewish teenagers are being held hostage by Arabs.”
The security establishment has lost its moral compass and forgotten who is friend and who is foe,” the organization said. “There is a direct relationship between the security forces’ lost of proportionality, having devoted enormous sums to create special units to deal with Jews and police’s failure to respond immediately to reports of abducted Jews, and the re-emergence of Arab terror. When our leaders declare that any scrawl of graffiti is ‘terrorism’, we get a painful reminder of what terrorism really is.”