Since news broke of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been handing out sweets in the streets to passersby and rejoicing at the IDF’s unsuccessful efforts to find the boys, reports the Jerusalem Post.
But perhaps even more jarring than the revelry in various Palestinian towns is the online presence of social media campaigns celebrating the kidnapping.
One of these movements, dubbed “Three Shalits,” is a social media initiative led by Hamas affiliates. The name is in reference to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in 2006 and returned in 2011 in exchange for 1,027 terror prisoners, many of them convicted murderers.
The logo of “Three Shalits” depicts a three-fingered salute, in reference to the three boys abducted last Thursday night. On the “Three Shalits” Facebook page appear dozens of photos of smiling people holding up the three-fingered symbol, many of them young children.
The page has become a site of anticipation that the three boys will eventually be used in a prisoner swap that would release large numbers of terror prisoners in a manner similar to that of the Shalit exchange.
Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin said the mindset of kidnappings equaling a prisoner exchange is dangerous.”The prisoner releases are the principal motivators for further kidnappings,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
Furthermore, the page has been a platform for encouraging young children that kidnapping is cause for celebration rather than outcry, and many Israelis cite the Palestinian response to the kidnappings as another example of incitement and failure to educate the young about the importance of coexistence.