July 12, 2014 by IJV
Once the boys’ disappearance was known, troops began a massive, 18-day search-and-rescue operation, entering thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals, racing against the clock. Only on July 1, after the boys’ bodies were found, did the truth come out: The government had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.
The initial evidence was the recording of victim Gilad Shaer’s desperate cellphone call to Moked 100, Israel’s 911. When the tape reached the security services the next morning — neglected for hours by Moked 100 staff — the teen was heard whispering “They’ve kidnapped me” (“hatfu oti”) followed by shouts of “Heads down,” then gunfire, two groans, more shots, then singing in Arabic. That evening searchers found the kidnappers’ abandoned, torched Hyundai, with eight bullet holes and the boys’ DNA. There was no doubt.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately placed a gag order on the deaths. Journalists who heard rumors were told the Shin Bet wanted the gag order to aid the search. For public consumption, the official word was that Israel was “acting on the assumption that they’re alive.” It was, simply put, a lie.
from How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza – Kidnap, Crackdown, Mutual Missteps and a Hail of Rockets by JJ Goldberg
Even the staunchly pro-Israel Jewish Chronicle cannot deny the awful truth that the Israeli government fanned the flames leading to the current wave of violence:
Anyone with access both to the recording and the physical evidence would have reasonably concluded that, while there was no definitive proof they were dead, the chances were very, very high.
That is not what the public was told, though. While teams quietly ploughed Hebron fields for bodies, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon publicly declared that “our working assumption is that they are alive”.
The phone call was kept under wraps through a gag order, and successive officials explained that the call was very hard to understand (not true).
Meanwhile, concerned citizens launched a campaign to “Bring Back Our Boys” – the implication being, “alive”. Rallies were organised; schoolchildren prayed; everywhere you looked, on Facebook, on t-shirts, the faces of these three poor boys – by now long dead – stared back.
It was an emotional frenzy. As a result, when the bodies were found, the collective shock and grief was almost unprecedented. Is it really a surprise that mobs bayed for revenge?