WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today reiterated his call for the release of Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach, and Gilad Shaar, three Israeli teens who were kidnapped on June 12th. At an event today on Capitol Hill, Rep. Engel was joined by Leehy Shaar, the aunt of Gilad Shaar; Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA); and Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and Grace Meng (D-NY) in denouncing the kidnappings and urging the immediate return of the teens to their families.
A transcript of Rep. Engel’s remarks from the event (as delivered) follows.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, the late Abba Eban used to say that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and unfortunately 34 years later it still seems to be true. How people can kidnap innocent boys in trying to achieve some kind of political aim is just beyond decency whatsoever.
“We in the United States are saying, as people are saying all over the world, ‘Bring our boys home.’ And they’re our boys—they are everybody’s boys. Because as Aunt Leehy, who I am going to introduce in a little while, was saying yesterday, this could be anybody. This is a parent’s worst nightmare, and as long as we don’t do anything to combat terror, we are in essence condoning terror.
“The Palestinians must understand that they will never get their state built on the backs of terror. In fact, it will set them back. They will not get their state if they think that terror or kidnapping young boys is the way to achieve political goals.
“This again could be anyone’s son—anyone’s. All of us who are parents, people who are not parents, just imagine when you kiss your child goodbye, he goes to school, and you think he’s coming back and then suddenly he doesn’t come back. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. So it’s very, very important that we have demonstrations all over the world until those boys are brought safely home.
“Last week I had the honor of participating in such a demonstration here in Washington. Outside of the Israeli embassy we tied three yellow ribbons around the tree across the street from the Israeli embassy. And this past weekend, in my home district in New Rochelle, New York we had a lot of synagogues and people of good will getting together holding a vigil for these boys and then the same day in New York City, in Manhattan, across the street from the Israeli consulate to the United Nations we held another rally, we held a youth rally where teenagers stood in solidarity with the three teenage boys who were abducted.
“So I am here today with my colleagues to say that the United States and Congress stands with these boys and with their families and we will not stop until these boys are returned safely to their families. And those who perpetrated this heinous crime will be brought to justice. We will track them down. We will work with our Israeli allies and partners, and track them down. People who use terror as a political means will never succeed because we are determined.
“Right now, the first thing we need is let’s bring our boys home. Three wonderful boys, one of whom, as you know, is an American citizen. But it really transcends any kind of nationality. Because again, as the aunt to one of these boys says, this could happen to anyone and it is every parent’s nightmare. So let’s bring our boys home.
“I’d like to call on Aunt Leehy.”