Rachel Frankel, mother of one of the kidnapped Israeli teens, victim Naftali Frankel, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council this week in an appeal to bring increased international attention to her son’s kidnapping. Frankel was one of three boys to have been kidnapped near Gush Etzion, Israel, on their way home from school on June 12. All three mothers, who have been actively voicing their support for increased attention to the case, have pleaded to the 47-nation council to do everything they can to bring back their boys. Yet, so far, the Council has remained silent.
U.N. Watch, an active NGO for human rights issues, invited Mrs. Frankel and the other two mothers, whom Frankel spoke on behalf of, to present in lieu of their slot at the council. “It is wrong to take children — innocent boys and girls — and use them as instruments in any struggle,” she said. In fact, as tensions over the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories rise, U.N. Watch hopes to bring more overall focus to the rising number of child and adolescent victims in these areas.
The mothers have received some support from officials. During her address, Mrs. Frankel publicly thanked the U.N. Secretary-General “for condemning the abduction of our boys” and the International Red Cross “for stating clearly that international humanitarian law prohibits the taking of hostages.” Comparatively, U.N. Watch has taken the most active role in the plight for returning the boys to safety, making the case the organization’s top priority.
While the boys have still yet to be found, security forces have informed the family that the boys are in fact still alive. As Israeli authorities continue searching for the boys (the investigation is about to hit its third week), two suspects have been named. Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha, both Hamas Islamists and former convicts, are currently being actively pursued.
Yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the two men in question are only a small part of the boys’ kidnappings. Hamas, the Islamist group that holds power in the Gaza strip of Palestine and the group behind the boys’ kidnappings, has continuously called for Israel’s “destruction.” Meanwhile, the mothers of the victims — and the rest of the world — continue to anticipate the return of their boys.
To watch Mrs. Frankel’s speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council, click here.
— Nick Magnanti