In an effort to increase its price for them, Hamas on Sunday continued its propaganda campaign over two missing Israelis. Although Hamas has officially denied that it is holding Avraham Mengitsu and a still-unnamed Bedouin Arab, Hamas terror officials have been making other statements.
On Sunday, Dr. Faiz Abu Smalla, who is a Hamas expert on Israel, wrote in his weekly column in the official Gaza newspaper, Filastin, that Israel's efforts to ignore Mengistu, from an Ethiopian immigrant family, will end up being a source of pressure on Israel to “pay the appropriate price” for his return.
Israel has said that there are no talks going on for Mengistu's release. Last Thursday, Hamas denied that it was holding the Israeli, saying that it had released him after determining that he was not a soldier.
According to Israeli officials, Mengistu crossed the fence into Gaza last September due to mental illness and that the move was not in any way a deliberate security risk. According to reports, the IDF spotted him and attempted to stop him, but he ran across before he could be apprehended; Hamas arrested him upon his arrival in Gaza.
The same fate is in the cards for the Bedouin prisoner, Abu Smalla wrote. Although he is an Arab and should therefore be treated with dignity, he wrote, Israeli Arabs are “known” to serve in the IDF, which makes them fair game. Sooner or later, he wrote, Israel would also “pay the price” for forcing Arabs into serving in the army.
To show its fairness, he added that Hamas had “returned hundreds of soldiers and settlers to Israel without taking advantage of them.” According to his figures, Hamas between 2011 and 2014 had returned 184 Jews who entered Gaza back to Israel.
Last week, Hamas top terrorist Khaled Mashaal said that the group would demand that Israel release 71 terrorists who were arrested in recent months after being released in the deal to free Gilad Shalit in 2011 as the starting point for any discussions about anything. Hamas sees the re-arrest of these terrorists as a “violation” of Israel's obligations in the Shalit deal.
Of the 1,027 terrorists released to gain Shalit's freedom after five years in a Hamas hideaway, 477 were Hamas members. Despite a pledge not to engage in terrorism as a condition of their release, many returned almost immediately upon their release to terror activities, and 71 have been arrested so far – the latest just Wednesday night, when police nabbed a resident of of Abu Dis suspected of involvement in recent terror activities including throwing firebombs and other explosives at Israeli security forces. Hamas sees the re-arrest of these terrorists as a “violation” of Israel's obligations in the Shalit deal.