Israel said to accept U.S. offer in search for teens’ murderers

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel accepted U.S. assistance in its search for the murderers of three kidnapped teenagers, U.S. deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said.

“We’ve just offered to provide whatever assistance we can,” Rhodes said Tuesday in a briefing for the foreign press when asked what the United States has done to assist in the matter.

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“They’ve accepted, but at the same time, in their own neighborhood, they tend to have substantial intelligence resources and law enforcement resources,” he said.

Rhodes did not elaborate, but suggested that the assistance was so far limited to shared information.

“Insofar as we have any information, we are going to share that with them,” he said.

Rhodes called on Israel to show restraint in its pursuit of justice for the killers. At least five Palestinians have been killed in clashes during a sweep of the West Bank since the June 12 kidnapping of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel and the discovery of their bodies on Monday.

“Israel needs to be very careful to not be so heavy-handed in its response that they’re further destabilizing the situation, and they need to respect the dignity of the Palestinian people,” he said. “And so that’s what we’ll continue to urge going forward, and ultimately that’s what’s going to be in their best interests.”

Rhodes also addressed the latest round of nuclear talks between the major powers and Iran beginning Wednesday in Vienna, commending the Iranians for complying with the terms of reducing nuclear capability governing the talks but adding that they are not compromising toward a long-term solution.

“They’ve been very optimistic in their public comments about reaching agreement, but we are going to need to see them take additional steps in the negotiations for there to be a comprehensive resolution,” he said.