Hamas And The Teen Murders

That’s the current line from the Israeli government on the disputed authorization for the murder of three teens in the West Bank. Eli Lake follows up:

Israeli news reports say Qawasmeh acknowledged during interrogations that he received money and direction from Hamas leaders in Gaza to conduct the June 15 kidnapping. He was arrested trying to flee to Jordan using phony identification. Shaul Bartal, an expert on Hamas and a reservist major in the Israel Defense Force for military intelligence, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that the arrest of Qawasmeh was a smoking gun, but he also said it’s doubtful that Hamas leaders gave specific instructions to kidnap the three teenagers. “It seems Hamas leadership in Gaza gave an order, but the order was more general,” he said.

I remain confused about the term “kidnapping.” The teens were murdered almost as soon as they were captured. I also remain confused as to how – since we are now told the evidence came after the arrest of Qawasmeh – Netanyahu was able to know immediately that Hamas was institutionally responsible. It seems clear that the murders were not some random criminal act, and that Hamas sympathizers and renegades were involved, broadly authorized by Hamas. Beyond that? I doubt anyone intended it to be a casus belli. But Netanyahu made it one.