by Ben Hartman, Jpost.com Staff
"Naturally, I cannot share everything we know, not at this time; however, I can say this: Our boys were kidnapped by a terrorist organization. This is absolutely clear; there is no doubt about this," said the prime minister.
Netanyahu said that Israel was doing everything in its power to bring the boys home, and reiterated that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is responsible for their well-being.
"We see Abbas and the PA as responsible for all attacks that come from their territory, either Gaza or the West Bank," he said. "The claim that they are not responsible because it was in Area C is baseless. The attackers came from Palestinian Authority areas and the Authority is responsible."
The prime minister said that the kidnapping was the "true result" of the recent unity government forged between the Fatah and the Hamas that caused Israel to suspend the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
"The unity with Hamas, opens the door for Hamas to control the West Bank. There is no possibility to talk about peace with Israel while you talk about unity with a group that wants to destroy Israel," Netanyahu said.
"In our area states are under threat of attack from extremist Islam and terror groups. Over and over we see that we can trust only ourselves, the IDF, the Shin Bet and Israeli citizens and soldiers," he added.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz who took part in the press conference with Netanyahu on Saturday said the military would expand the scope of its operations to retrieve the abducted youths, while keeping an eye on Gaza and the northern arena.
Following his televised update, Netanyahu was scheduled to convene his cabinet.
Netanyahu met with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and the head of the Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, earlier in the day on Saturday as well as meeting with senior defense officials on Friday.
Meanwhile, Yuval Diskin, former chief of the Shin Bet, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to speak out on Saturday against releasing Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails.
"We should end the policy of exchanging terrorists for kidnapped soldiers, or end the policy of freeing terrorists and we should rather freeze West Bank settlement building during peace talks with the Palestinians," Diskin wrote on his Facebook page.
"The prisoner releases are the principal motivators for further kidnappings," he added.
IDF special forces continued to search for the three Israeli teens on Saturday. Security forces have made "some progress" overnight in a massive effort to track down the location of three Israeli youths kidnapped by a Palestinian terrorist cell in the West Bank, a senior security source said.
The names of the missing yeshiva students were cleared on Saturday for publication.
The boys are: Naftali Frankel, 16 from Nof Ayalon near Modi'in; Gilad Shaar, 16, from Talmon in the West Bank near Ramallah, and Eyal Yifrach, 19 from Elad in central Israel near Petah Tikva. Of the three boys, Naftali Frankel was named as the dual American-Israeli citizen.
Beginning Saturday evening police went on high alert across the country, with the intent to "in order to prevent incidents of incitement, provocation and disturbances from all sides", according to National Police Spokesman Rafi Yafeh.
He also said that they had cancelled a national training drill scheduled to begin on Sunday and that National Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino, currently attending a conference in the United States, has cut his trip short in order to return to oversee the police efforts.
Crime scene forensic examiners from the Judea and Samaria District continue to check a car found torched in the Hebron area Friday morning, which is widely suspected of being linked to the kidnapping.
The Israel Prison Service is also wary of possible disturbances among security prisoners, but as of Saturday afternoon they said that there had been no rioting or violence, or celebrations on the part of the Palestinian security prisoners behind bars in Israel.
Ben Hartman, Jpost.com Staff
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