Of course, Israel is not expected to let the murder of three teenagers go unanswered, with Hamas the probable first target for reprisals.
Beyond Hamas, however, the Israeli government is also focusing its ire on the Palestinian Authority.
Spokesman Mark Regev said: “This atrocity is the direct result of the decision by President Abbas to unite with Hamas, allowing them to re-establish their presence in the West Bank. We call upon President Abbas to unequivocally and immediately break his alliance with Hamas.”
Israel was revolted by the latest in a series of reconciliations between the Fatah party of Abbas and the Hamas party, concluded in April, leading to a unity government. The deal unites the Gaza Strip and the West Bank — governed by enemy brothers since Hamas, classified as a terrorist organisation by Israel and its allies, won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament in 2006.
The abduction of the teens further infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu towards Abbas.
Netanyahu said: “Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas. And he has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far he hasn’t done so.”
Hamas itself has not said it had a hand in the murders. Suicide attacks by Hamas militants have repeatedly torpedoed Palestinian-Israeli peace initiatives, and the party leadership has never condemned these actions.
The two prime suspects sought by the Israeli police they present as Hamas members from a clan in Hebron known for claiming independence from the party proper.
Abbas says he is still committed to seeking peace with Israel, but in the context of continuing violent exchanges, Fatah will be hard-pressed to maintain its renewed ties; the murders have raised increased calls to isolate Hamas; even traditional ally Egypt has declared it outside the law.
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