President Shimon Peres on Sunday urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to lead a global outcry against terror and Hamas in response to the June 12 abduction of three Israeli teenagers.
The two got together at the New York Palace Hotel in New York on Sunday for a working meeting, their last before Peres steps down at the end of July.
“The United Nations is an important organization which represents the world — it is your responsibility to cry out on behalf of the mothers of the kidnapped boys and call for their immediate release,” Peres said. “We must raise a moral cry and condemn terror on behalf of the entire world. I know how much the situation in Gaza concerns you, but we must speak honestly – the one who is responsible for that is Hamas which runs Gaza and leads to terror and poverty – we have a moral responsibility to condemn Hamas and fight against all terrorism.”
Ban condemned the kidnappings but did not make any specific references to Hamas, which Israel blames for the kidnappings.
“I have already issued a statement on the kidnapping of the young Israeli students; under any circumstances, for any reason, it cannot be justified,” he said. “It is totally unacceptable.”
Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16, were kidnapped on June 12 from a hitchhiking stop near the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion bloc. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel has unequivocal proof that Gaza terrorist organization Hamas is behind the abduction, and over the past 17 days, the IDF has embarked on a massive security operation in an effort to locate the teens and weaken Hamas.
Military officials have said the operation has yet to turn up any concrete leads, but late last week Israel named two Hamas operatives as suspects. In a meeting with the parents of the three teenagers on Friday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon assured them that the IDF believes their sons are still alive.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.