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A prominent Middle East scholar with close ties to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says three Israeli teens were captured and murdered just for being Jews, that Israel is looking at a much bigger threat than a resurgent Hamas and the region is imploding due to failed U.S. leadership.

The bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel were discovered Monday, more than two weeks after they were abducted. Fraenkel also held U.S. citizenship.

“[Hamas] planned the target and murder of them. They didn’t know them. They just wanted to kill Jews,” author and award-winning journalist Mike Evans told WND.

“Hamas is part of the Palestinian government. As a matter of fact, the PLO website had a picture of three rats depicting these three children. In Ramallah and in Gaza, they were singing songs. They were passing out candy. They were celebrating the deaths of these three teenagers,” said Evans.

He says one simple step Israel can take to retaliate is to demand the U.S. stop foreign aid to the Palestinians, particularly since Hamas is still listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department. Currently, the U.S. provides $1 billion dollars in “aid” annually to the Palestinian Authority, which just recently reunited with Hamas.

Netanyahu has not indicated what the scope of the immediate response would be, but Evans says his friend needs to think bigger than Hamas.

“This is really a declaration of war in many ways. Iran is behind Hamas. Iran funds it and fuels it. Al-Qaida is also there,” said Evans.

“This is a very serious existential dilemma and here’s why: we pulled out of Iraq. We pulled out of Afghanistan. We told jihadists of the Middle East, ‘It’s yours.’ They’re taking us very serious. Now we’ve got a brand new caliphate in Iraq. They’re taking over the country. Israel just told the Kurds they should proclaim statehood.

So Israel’s looking at the big end game and I think the prime minister’s going to have to look at this more serious than just Gaza. He’s going to have to look at this entire octopus and decide is it time to deal with the head of the octopus as opposed to the tail,” said Evans, referring to Iran.

Evans, who has served as a confidant to multiple Israeli prime ministers and leaders in the Middle East for more than two decades, blames the Obama administration’s policies for much of the recent upheaval in the Middle East and says the recent coziness between the U.S. and Iran over the ISIS threat in Iraq is reason for even more concern.

“Obama has invited Iran to partner with him in fighting this new Sunni state, this new Islamist jihadist state. The quid pro quo, I’m sure, is an atomic Iran in exchange for that. So Netanyahu is looking at that and they realize the state of Israel is on their own,” said Evans.

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