Several days ago, three Israeli teenagers were abducted from the occupied Palestinian West Bank, probably by a Hamas outfit.
In search of the abductees, Israeli military forces have been engaging in massive human rights violations in the West Bank and particularly in Hebron, a city in which a quarter of a million Palestinians are sieged.
The Israelis have arrested over 200 Palestinians thus far, although the term & is hardly appropriate: these Palestinians were taken captive by the Israeli military, locked in undisclosed locations in which they will be kept indefinitely, and probably tortured.
They can expect no trial, no lawyer, and no legal protections.
In the meantime, Israeli forces search homes, seize property, humiliate and abuse Palestinians at whim, and slowly beat the entire city of Hebron into submission.
Israeli politicians are competing amongst themselves as to who can produce the most jingoistic headlines, with some promising to use all means necessary to find the teenagers while others threaten to crush any opposition by the Palestinians.
The irony is that the Israelis can hardly complain about political abductions.
Over the past several decades, thousands of Palestinians have been abducted by the Israeli military and secret police (the Shin Bet) and put under administrative detention, without trial, for periods ranging from months to years.
Many of these detainees have recently begun a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention. Israel has also abducted Palestinian leaders for the express purpose of using them as bargaining chips in negotiations with the Palestinians.
Can Israelis now complain that the Palestinians are playing the same game of Capture and Negotiate?
Israelis must be made to realize that the goal does not justify all means.
It is not only morally wrong to punish an entire population collectively for the crimes of a few militants; it is also unwise.
Those Palestinians who have been captured, humiliated, and tortured will rise up eventually and join the ranks of Hams, Jihad, and other militant groups, leading to an endless cycle of violence and retaliation.
The world must call on Israel to find humane methods for finding those captive boys or to begin negotiations for their release.
A good way to start would be to release all Palestinians who are rotting in Israeli prisons without trial.