Five days after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank last Thursday — an incident widely reported and even condemned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon — a UN spokesman said the international body had “no information to confirm an abduction.”
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, said (at the 12:05 mark) the UN had “no confirmation that we can independently make about an abduction,” in response to a question about how the UN had established that there had been a kidnapping.
Haq’s statement came three days after Ban Ki-moon condemned the abduction of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and called for their immediate release.
The remark was blasted by the Israeli mission to the UN which released a video edited to show the absurdity of the statement given the international coverage of the abduction, and the condemnation issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who called for the boys’ return.
The Israeli mission said that UN was “out of touch and out of line.”
— Israel Mission to UN (@IsraelinUN) June 19, 2014
Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor wrote on his Facebook page that “everyone knows Gil-ad, Naftali and Eyal were kidnapped last week…Condemnations were issued from across the world, including from Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]… All this does not seem to convince the deputy spokesman of the secretary general, who announced that he could not confirm a kidnapping occurred. His statement proves that sensitivity to events on the ground is not a prominent characteristic at the UN.”
Prosor on Tuesday criticized members of the international community for not immediately condemning the abduction of the teens.
“Where are you? Where are you?” Prosor asked outside the UN security Council Wednesday morning.
The teenagers were last seen at a hitchhiking post in the Gush Etzion area in West Bank on June 12.
Several Palestinian groups have taken responsibility of their abduction but the authenticity of the claims are questionable.
The Israeli government has pointed the finger at Hamas and said it holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for their fate. PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday criticized the kidnapping, said the youths must be returned, and confirmed ongoing security cooperation with Israel to try to locate them. Hamas has praised the kidnapping without claiming responsibility, and slammed Abbas for siding with Israel.
Israeli forces are embarked on a massive campaign to locate the three kidnapped boys while simultaneously destroying parts of the Hamas terror infrastructure in the West Bank.
Over the past week, thousands of Israeli troops have searched hundreds of locations in the West Bank and arrested more than 300 Palestinians, many of them from Hamas, including some who were freed in a 2011 prisoner exchange for Hamas-kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.