When is a kidnapping more than a kidnapping? When politicians and others exploit a tragedy to further their agendas. It can also be an opportunity to repair damaged relations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
All of Israel wants to see the three teenagers-- --Gilad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel -- kidnapped near Hebron two weeks ago returned safely to their families, and the government and security forces are devoting enormous energy to that task.
It appears the marriage between the two leading Palestinian factions may be on the rocks even before it had a chance to be consummated.
Behind the break-up is the Palestinian Authority’s condemnation of the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, believed to be the work of Hamas, and the cooperation of PA and Israeli security forces in the search for the boys.
As the Obama administration was trying to resuscitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in late 2010, Republican Rep. Eric Cantor met privately with Benjamin Netanyahu in a New York hotel room with an unprecedented offer: the incoming majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives offered to side with the prime minister of Israel against the President of the United States on critical foreign policy issues.
Israel is beginning to look like old time Chicago politics. The previous governor of Illinois, a former Chicago congressman, is in jail, home to four of the last seven governors of Illinois, and another popular former Chicago congressman is in jail now, with his wife, a former city alderman, going in when he gets out. They’re only the latest in a long list of former Chicago area politicians to go to prison for corruption.
Pope Francis should have learned in his visit last week to the West Bank and then to Jerusalem that praying for peace between Israelis and Palestinians is like talking to a wall. But he’s not one to give up easily, so he invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to the Vatican on June 8 to seek divine intervention.
That may be the best hope for peace, and that’s a very sad commentary.