U.S. lawmakers, quick to express condolences over the killing of three Jewish teenagers in Israel, have so far avoided calling for a specific U.S. response despite outrage in America’s pro-Israel community.
The teens disappeared in the West Bank more than two weeks ago and their bodies were found Monday afternoon. Israel suspects Hamas was involved and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said the group “will pay” for the boys’ deaths.
One of the boys killed, 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, was a dual Israeli-American citizen. Some of his extended family lives in New York, in Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey’s district.
“Our hearts are broken by this appalling act of terrorism against three innocent Israelis, and our prayers are with all of their family members in Israel and the United States,” Lowey said in an emailed statement. “President Abbas must make clear that such extremism will not be tolerated, and lead the effort to hold accountable every single person who played a role in this evil act.”
In general, lawmakers agreed with the statement issued by the White House — that the U.S. should actively assist the Israeli government in holding the perpetrators accountable. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ted Deutch of Florida are in Israel and had planned to meet with the families Tuesday.
“We will continue to support the Government of Israel in its efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch said in a joint statement.
But those in Congress who have had little faith in the new Palestinian government took the opportunity to denounce it once more.
“The whole world should be sickened by the murder of the three Israeli teenagers and the fact that Hamas praised their abductions,” Democratic Rep. Steve Israel said in an email. “These innocent boys had a whole life ahead of them that was robbed by savage terrorists. I vehemently condemn the Palestinian Authority and the unity government created with Hamas’ backing.”
What We're Following See More »
"Former veteran Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of making false statements to federal agents." Wolfe was indicted "earlier this year on three counts of making false statements to the FBI, which questioned him about his contacts with reporters ... According to the indictment, in October 2017 Wolfe gave a reporter ... information about an unidentified man who had been served with a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The reporter published stories about the subpoena and the man's upcoming testimony in a closed committee hearing."
"The federal deficit widened last year amid higher government spending—including rising interest costs on the debt and increased funding for the military—and flat revenues following last year’s tax cut. The government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said Monday. That is the largest annual deficit in six years and 17% higher than the $666 billion deficit in fiscal 2017. As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.9%, up from 3.5% a year earlier and the third consecutive increase."
"The BBC has determined there is enough evidence to be confident that at least 106 chemical attacks have taken place in Syria since September 2013, when the president signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and agreed to destroy the country's chemical weapons stockpile."