Kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir

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Location Shu'fat, East Jerusalem, State of Palestine Palestine
Attack type
Death by bludgeoning and burning
Deaths 1
Motive 2014 kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers

The kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir occurred early on the morning of 2 July 2014, a day after the burial of three murdered Israeli teens. Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian, was forced into a car on an East Jerusalem street.[1] His family immediately reported the fact to Israeli Police who located his charred body few hours later at Givat Shaul in the Jerusalem Forest. Preliminary results from the autopsy suggested that he was beaten and burnt while still alive.[2][3][4][5]

The Israeli police investigated several possible motives for his killing. The preliminary evidence indicated that it was probably a revenge attack for the kidnap-murders of the Israeli teens.[6] On Sunday, 6 July, police took into custody six Jewish suspects for interrogation, stating that they believed the murder was most likely carried out by 'terrorists' as revenge.[1][7] One confessed quickly, incriminating three others, some of them minors, and they were put on remand for 8 days. Within a day, three had confessed and reenacted the murder at the scene of the crime.[8] Three other suspects were released as unconnected with the crime, though they heard about it from the alleged murderers.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the murder on the Israeli government and demanded Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu condemn it "as we condemned the kidnapping of the three Israelis".[9] Eventually the attack was condemned by the government in Israel.[10] Khdeir's family members have, however, blamed government incitement for the murder and rejected the PM's condolence message, as well as a visit by then President Shimon Peres.[11][12][13] The day the suspects were arrested, the family of one of the Israeli victims, the Fraenkels, called the family of Abu Khdeir to condemn the murder and offer their condolences.[11] The Fraenkels said they understand the magnitude of the loss and that they oppose any act of violence either by Jews or Arabs.[14] The murder was condemned by the families of the three murdered Israeli teens, who sent Khdeir's family their condolences.[15]

In the aftermath of Khdeir's murder, one of his cousins, a 15 year-old Palestinian-American boy, was brutally beaten by Israeli police officers in an assault caught on camera.[16] Another one of his cousins, a 19 year-old who has the same name as him, Mohammed Abu Khdeir,[17] has been held by the Israeli police since a 28 July protest. Though he is an American citizen, Israel failed to notify US authorities of the arrest and the US has accused Israel of apparently singling out Khdeir family members for arrest.[16][18]

Background[edit]

Main street in Shu'fat

The Shu'fat neighborhood, located in East Jerusalem, was home to Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The neighborhood is relatively well-off and calmer than some other areas and its residents do not often get into confrontations with the Israeli police.[19][20] Muhammad Abu Khdeir was 16 years old. His father owned and ran an electric appliances store, and the boy was studying to become an electrician at the "Amal" vocational high school.[19] The family are part of a large clan that is well known in Shu'afat. In his last days, he helped a family member decorate the main street in Shu'fat with lamps on the occasion of Ramadan.[21]

On 12 June 2014, three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frankel were hitchhiking home from school to a Jewish settlement in the West Bank and were kidnapped. They were executed almost immediately.[22] In the interim, their fate became the focus of intense concern throughout Israeli society. They were buried late in the afternoon of 1 July.[23]

On the day of the funeral, hundreds of Israelis rampaged through Jerusalem yelling "Death to Arabs",[4] endeavoured to assault passers-by, who had to be extricated by police.[19] The marches counted with the presence of prominent right-wing figures such as former MK Michael Ben-Ari, and Jewish Agency officials.[24] Referring to "the enemy", Ben-Ari called on Israelis to "[m]ake Ramadan into a month of darkness for them!"[24] People in one of the "Death to Arabs" march told a CNN reporter that, "after sundown we will attack them".[25] The evening before the killing, a group of racist supporters of the Beitar football club, known as La Familia, held a violent demonstration, in which they chanted "death to Arabs" and harassed Palestinians nearby.[26] In Hebron, settlers assaulted Palestinian residents;[27] in Bethlehem a 9-year-old child was run over by a settler car.[27] A 'rash of racist incitement on Israeli social media' broke out after the deaths were revealed.[28] Rabbi Noam Perel, head of Bnei Akiva, the world's largest religious-Zionist youth organization, urged on his Facebook page that the IDF be transformed into an army of avengers, which "will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins".[29] He also wrote:

The travesty will be atoned for with the enemy's blood, not with our tears. A whole nation and thousands of years of history demands revenge. The government of Israel is convened for a meeting of vengeance that is not a mourning sitting.[30]

On the same day, a Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli forces in a Jenin refugee camp.[31] The killing was widely celebrated on Israeli social media as "revenge".[31] A Facebook page "The People of Israel Demand Revenge" calling passionately for "revenge", was set up by a 17-year-old, showing soldiers posing and touting their rifles,[19] posting messages of "revenge".[32] The page quickly gathered 35,000 "likes",[19] but was taken down after the news of Khdeir's murder. One item submitted to the site had a photograph by two smiling Israeli girls with a sign saying, "Hating Arabs is not racism, it's values!"[19] At the recommendation of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the Israeli police launched a probe into call for incitement on social media.[33] In addition, the IDF announced that soldiers posting messages or photos that pledged to avenge the teens' murder or used racist language will be severely punished.[34]

On that Tuesday night, a Palestinian family registered a complaint with police concerning an attempt to kidnap their child, 10-year-old Moussa Zalum, on Shu'fat's main street. At the time, they reported, he was walking with his mother and brother when a car stopped and an attempt was made to try and pull him into the vehicle, grabbing him by the throat. The child managed to wriggle free, as the mother beat off the kidnapper and the car sped off.[35] Early on Wednesday morning, 16-year-old Abu Khdeir was murdered.[19] The mother later said two men were involved, and spoke Hebrew. The family alerted the police immediately, the mother said, and a patrol car passed and officers were given details and a description. In police accounts the parents were to go to the police station and lay a formal complaint, something the family did not do, and therefore the police did not investigate. The police also alleged that the father told them the assailtants were not Jewish. The police said that it was only after hearing of the Abu Khdeir kidnapping the following morning that police connected the two incidents.[36]

Disappearance and murder[edit]

On 2 July the night of the abduction, witnesses say that around 3:45 am, while the boy was waiting for friends near his home, he was taken and thrown into a car by two or three men.[37][38]

As local youths of the mosque were leaving to get food for the predawn meal,[19] two young men came to Muhammad when he was very close to the mosque, spoke to him and then convinced him or pulled him into the vehicle, which the mosque's Imam, a family relative Mahmoud Abu Khdeir, described as a grey Hyundai, driven by a third man. Cries of help were heard by people nearby, and, according to his father, he yelled: 'Dad, dad, save me.'[39] The father later showed images from local surveillance cameras, downloaded on his cellphone, of two men walking down the pavement where the kidnapping occurred.[19] The vehicle then drove off quickly toward the French Hill Junction and from there to the Jerusalem Forest. Several bystanders saw the kidnapping, and chased the car before notifying the father.[1] The family notified the Israeli police immediately afterwards at 4:05 am about the incident, and the police, accused by the family of neglecting their complaints,[40] tracked Abu Khdeir's cell phone, which was later retrieved from one of the arrested suspect's home,[41] and discovered his scorched body within an hour in the Jerusalem Forest.[1] According to the Palestinian Attorney General, Dr. Muhammed Abed al-Ghani al-Aweiwi, an autopsy conducted at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv revealed that the child had soot in his lungs, indicating that he was alive and breathing when he was torched. Some reports that appeared on Hebrew-language media suggested that Khdeir had been forced to drink gasoline.[42] The burns affected 90% of his body and it appeared he had sustained head injuries from a beating and was repeatedly hit in the head with a sharp object,[3][12][43] which was alleged to have been a tire iron,[44] but is now alleged to have been a wrench (see #Investigation of the crime). The Israeli Police suspected that the same vehicle was used in both Abu-Khdeir's and Zalum's cases.[21][45][46]

According to the confession of the leading suspect, Yosef Haim Ben-David,29, owner of an eyewear shop in Jerusalem,[47] and resident of the settlement of Geva Binyamin, the original intention was to beat up an Arab or torch a shop. They switched into civilian clothes after removing their religious clothes,[47] and almost cancelled the project when, on stopping to dine, the Arab proprietor reminded them as they left to pick up their change. On sighting Mohammed Abu Khdeir, they asked for directions to Tel Aviv, and he gave a rough indication, in poor Hebrew.[47] As he began to dial his cellphone, perhaps suspicious, the minors clamped hands over his mouth and dragged him into the car where, after he yelled "Allahu Akhbar" he was choked, and the ringleader gave instructions he be finished off. On arriving at the forest, he was beaten repeatedly with a crowbar, each blow accompanied by a recital of Jewish victims of terrorism: "This is for the Fogel family, and this is for Shalhevet Pass". They then poured gasoline over him, set him alight, got rid of the evidence, and then poured their hearts out to each other regretting as compassionate Jews the error they had committed. "We’re not like the sons of Ishmael [meaning Arabs]… We’re Jews. We have a heart."[47][48] The indictment against him and the two minors also includes an attempt to kidnap the 7 year old Beit Hanoun boy, Moussa Zaloum, whom they choked and whose mother they punched in the face, and the torching of an Arab store earlier in June in the Palestinian village of Hizma.[47]

Follow-up incidents reported[edit]

On Thursday evening, Palestinians of Shu'fat reported to the Israeli police that four settlers from Pisgat Zeev had attempted to kidnap a 7-year-old local child, Muhammad Ali al-Kiswani, and had fled on being thwarted.[49] On Friday Palestinians of Osarin near Nablus in the West Bank complained that one of them, 22-year-old Tariq Ziad Zuhdi Adeli, had been sprayed with a gas by settlers, abducted in a car and then, taken outside the village, sustained injuries from a hatchet attack to his legs.[50]

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy went missing in Wadi al-Joz, East Jerusalem on 4 July. A settler car had been seen in the area at the time.[51]

Three days later, a video was aired showing Israeli undercover agents beating up Khdeir's cousin, 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir, in a secluded area after the boy had been handcuffed and pinned to the ground.[52] Tariq is a student at Universal Academy of Florida high school in Tampa.[52][53][54][55] Israeli spokesmen said he resisted arrest and had a slingshot in his possession. His father, who was present, said his son was not involved in the protests.[28] At a hearing before Congressional staffers on his return, Tariq stated that he was watching the demonstration from an alley, among a crowd, when Israeli police charged them, and, on noting the use of rubber bullets, he leapt over a fence to escape, but was caught by officers, handcuffed and then beaten unconscious.[56]

Sunjeev Bery, an advocacy director for Amnesty International later stated, in reference to the incident, that

non-violent protest in Palestine is, in fact, illegal under military law 101. The law, in effect since 1967, states that gatherings of 10 or more people are forbidden unless expressly permitted by the IDF[56]

The U.S. State Department stated that it was "profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force", and called for "a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force".[57] Israeli Border Police started an official investigation on 5 July.[58] Activists drew attention to the video and detention using the Twitter hashtag #FreeTarek.[59][60] He was released Sunday morning on bail, kept under house arrest for 10 days,[61] and forbidden residence in Shu'fat.[62] He returned to Florida at the end of the 10 day period. Hours after he left, Israeli police ransacked his East Jerusalem home, destroyed furniture and emptied cabinets.[63] As of August 3, three of his cousins arrested with him are still in detention.[56] As of August 22, this includes a 19 year-old also called Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a US citizen, whose arrest, concealed by Israel from US authorities, has led the US to suspect that Israel is targeting the Khdeir family.[17]

Investigation of the crime[edit]

According to the preliminary indictments released for publication in mid-July, two of the suspects decided to kill a Palestinian in revenge for the killing of the three Israeli teenagers. Cruising around the neighbourhood they attacked a 9 year old boy and then fled. On the evening before the kidnapping, joined by a third person, they arrived at Shuafat via the Damascus Gate neighborhood, and the thirty year old suspect drove round the area while they argued whether to kidnap a man, a woman or a male teenager. Eventually they seized Abu Khdeir, beat and stunned him, and took him to the Jerusalem Forest, where they spilled flammable material over him, set him on fire, and fled to Tel Aviv to create an alibi. Israeli officials initially said that the police believed Khdeir had been probably killed in revenge for the killing of three Israeli teens, but that they were also looking into possibility that Khdeir's death might have been an honour killing, or other criminal act, though it was noted that the Khdeir family had no criminal history.[64] The Israeli police at the time justified their decision not to discard the hypothesis of an internal feud or dispute within the clan as the cause for the murder, saying that they knew of earlier attempts to kidnap Abu Khdeir family members, including his younger sister.[65] Two different squads were formed to follow up investigations into both hypotheses, of a 'nationalist' or 'criminal' (Arab) crime.[8] Israeli military and police sources informed the media as early as 2 July 2014 that the murder was most likely a nationalistically-motivated revenge killing."[66][67]

From the outset, rumours abounded, with Israelis and pro-Israelis on Twitter and social network media suggesting the boy had been killed by Palestinian criminals, or by his relatives in an honour killing, with insinuations that he was gay.[68] There were suspicions that, in order to discredit the Khdeir family, the Israeli police planted rumors in the Israeli media about an honor killing provoked by the teen's supposed sexual orientation.[69] Lara Friedman, from the left-wing Israeli group Peace Now, pointed out the non-existence of homophobic honor killing incidents in Palestine, saying this hypothesis made no sense, and concluded that the scenario was raised by the Israelis in a show of pinkwashing that constituted a blood libel against the Palestinian nation.[70] Other commentators also made reference to the concept of pinkwashing, accusing Israelis of being overly willing to take up the honor killing narrative, and too confident of its veracity, so as to remove from any Israeli Jews the blame over Khdeir's murder and portray Palestinians as barbarians.[69][71] Khdeir's parents, who went through long hours interrogation by the Israeli police, also accused it of trying to force the honor killing narrative[66] and attempting a cover up "to protect the settlers".[40] The boy's father complained that in the lengthy police interrogation the police asked many questions about the family's personal life, how much pocket money the boy had, and if he had any enemies, but challenged him when he raised the issue of a settler kidnapping.[72]

In pre-dawn raids on Sunday 6 July,[73] Shin Bet and police rounded up 6 suspects, and placed a gag order on the press, which was partially lifted around 5:00 pm. The breakthrough was firstly leaked by anonymous Israeli sources and soon after the police confirmed the arrests, after the gag order was lifted.[1] It emerged that the 6 suspects, some minors, hailed from from Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Adam, otherwise known as Geva Binyamin and had been arrested by tracking the car's vehicle registration plate, which they had obtained from security video in the area. It was also reported that the 6 are also suspected of having attempted to kidnap Moussa Zalum two days earlier.[1][74]

Later that evening, one suspect confessed and incriminated the other five. Five were remanded for 8 days, and one for a further 5 days, by the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court, which turned down a request they be held for 15 days.[75] Early reports had associated the suspects with the extreme right wing, and sources then revealed that at least some of the suspects had taken part in the Beitar demonstration held the evening before the kidnapping.[26] In addition, one was identified as having an ultra-Orthodox background, another as hailing from an ultra-Orthodox Sephardic family identifying with the Shas worldview.[68] In the only official statement about the arrests, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said "a number of suspects were arrested for the killing" and "there are strong indications that the background was nationalistic."[76] By Monday, 3 had confessed to participating in the murder, and in the presence of police, re-enacted the deed at the scene of the crime in the Jerusalem Forest.[8]

The suspects were initially denied access to counsel because, according to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, "that's what the law allows regarding terrorists."[77] On 9 July the Magistrate Court in Petah Tikva ordered the release on 10 July of three of the suspects thought to be part of the murder group but who were not part of the murder itself, though suspected of knowing about it.[78] The three main suspects confessed to the murder of Abu Khdeir, and remain in custody. They are a 30-year-old man from a community near Jerusalem and two minors from Jerusalem.[79] Of three killers, two have a history of mental illness; both are on medication.[80]

On 14 July it was reported the three remaining suspects confessed to the kidnapping and murder, as well as the kidnapping attempt of the other Palestinian boy the previous day.[78] They are said to be preparing to enter an insanity plea.[78] Abu Khdeir's father said on the subject, "From the very first day of the investigation I said that they will either say that the killers are crazy, or they will set them free."[78] He also stated, "Justice is when they destroy their houses [of his sons murderers] just like they destroyed the houses of the suspects in Hebron," referring to the demolishing of the homes of the two main suspects of the murder of Israeli teenagers, Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha, in Hebron.[81] The Israeli Supreme Court, however, has rejected the argument that Khdeir's murder should be treated equally to that of the slain settlers.[82]

On 20 July, the main suspect in the murder Muhammad Abu Khdeir, Yosef Chaim Ben David, was cleared for publication. The resident of Geva Binyamin, a settlement also known as "Adam", is accused of hitting the boy with a wrench, pouring gasoline on him and giving him to fire. His defense counsel argued that advertising may expose his family to the dangers. The name of the other two main suspects will not be published since they are both minors.[83][84]

Trial[edit]

On July 27, 2014, the three main suspects were brought to arraign them. The main suspect, Yoseph Ben David said in the entrance hall, "I am the messiah." [85][86]

Family reactions, riots and funeral[edit]

Abu Khdeir was given a martyr's funeral in Jerusalem. His family requested that only Palestinian flags be waved near his coffin, though some flew the banner of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.[87] The boy's father blamed "fascist murderers", and called on the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deal with the culprits in the same way as he is handling the murderers of Jewish teenagers, by destroying their homes, as had been done in the previous case with the Palestinian suspects.[39] He later reiterated his call to demolish the homes of the three suspects, and added they should be burned to death.[88] He noticed Israel's double standards regarding treatment of Jewish terrorists by remarking, "A month has passed since the murder, and the murderers' homes have still not been destroyed".[88] Abu Khdeir's uncle blamed the crime on "[e]veryone in the government... from [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu down" for fanning racial hostility against Palestinians.[13] The teen's father compared the burning to death of his son to what Jews suffered at German hands in the Holocaust, and attributed the incident to the anti-Arab atmosphere in Israel after three Israeli youths had been murdered, which in his view functioned like a 'green light' for assaulting Arabs.[89]

After the arrest of the six suspects, Abu Khdeir's mother, Suha, manifested pessimism that they would be duly punished, saying, "I don't have any peace in my heart, even if they captured who they say killed my son. They're only going to ask them questions and then release them. What's the point?"[90]

Mourning tent of Muhamed Abu Khdeir

Prime Minister Netanyahu sent his condolences to the victim's family, saying: "There is no place for such murders in our society." The condolences were rejected by the family, who said, "[W]e refuse to accept the condolences of someone who agrees on the murder of our people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza."[12][91] Despite concern from family members that visits from Israeli Jews could serve as a public relations stunt for Israel, the family agreed to receive visits from them at its mourning tent, largely to conform to hospitality diktats in Arab culture.[92] Abu Khdeir warned, however, that the family would not allow right-wing Israelis in.[93]

The family turned away a visit by then Israeli President Shimon Peres.[12] Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced he was going to pay a visit at the Abu Khdeir family home, but the visit was reportedly canceled due to scheduling constraints. Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, David Lau, also had a planned visit canceled, whether on security grounds or because the family refused to see him is unclear.[94] Among the Israeli officials who did visit the mourning tent, are MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), MK Michal Rozin, and Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz.[95] Peretz became the target of abuse on his Facebook page from right-wing Israelis opposed to the visit; they made death threats against him and his family, and expressed support for Khdeir's murderers.[95] The Abu Khdeir family also spoke with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.[77] As part of an initiative led by an Israeli NGO combating hate crime, the Tag Meir organization organized for chartered buses from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for a large Israeli contingent wishing to pay respects to the Abu Khdeir family, which welcomed them in the mourners' tent.[96] Anti-racist Israeli activists from Jerusalem also came to express their condolences.[97]

Abu Khdeir's murder sparked off fierce riots for several days,[73] threatening to spilling over to broader unrest. In the Shu'fat area and East Jerusalem, a half-mile section of a major thoroughfare and the Jerusalem Light Rail passing through it were severely damaged.[19] A significant faction in the wave of riots was the suspicion that Israeli extremists were behind a revenge killing of Abu-Khdeir.[98] In a different area, near the West Bank Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown and rolled burning tires at security forces, according to Israeli police. A small riot also took place in the Israeli-Arab town of Tayibe where locals burned tires at the town entrance. Police arrested three locals for allegedly throwing stones at a passing vehicle on Highway 444.[99] In the aftermath of Khdeir's murder, Israel arrested 760 Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem, 260 of them children.[100]

Khdeir's funeral coincided with the onset of the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israeli police blocked all the roads leading from East Jerusalem's Palestinian neighborhood westwards, and placed limits on Muslim worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where the year before, on the occasion of Ramadan, some 80,000 had worshipped. Just 8,000 Palestinians managed to attend the mosque that day and numerous riots broke out, with East Jerusalem youths throwing stones and makeshift Molotov cocktails at Israeli police.[43] 100 Arab Israelis mounted a protest at Nazareth and two were arrested by police on Sunday,[73] and a further 15 arrested were made in Tamra during clashes with police.[73] Palestinian flags that had been raised in the Palestinian neighborhoods where rioting occurred were removed by teams from the Jerusalem municipal council sent to clean up the areas.[8]

Reactions[edit]

Palestine[edit]

  • President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israeli settlers of carrying out the attack and called for the "strongest punishment against the murderers if Israel truly wants peace".[101]
  • Hamas released a statement saying that "Our people will not let this crime pass.... You will pay the price for these crimes."[101]
  • Knesset parliamentarian, Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List), speaking at the boy's funeral, said, "We don't demand revenge—we demand freedom."[98]

Israel[edit]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged a swift inquiry into the "reprehensible murder" and called on people to respect the rule of law.[102] Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, said the killing was "a horrible and barbaric act which I strongly condemn. This is not our way, and I am fully confident that our security forces will bring the perpetrators to justice. I call on everyone to exercise restraint."[103] Members of the anti-Zionist Jewish religious group Neturei Karta expressed their condolences at the mourning tent to Abu-Khdairs family. A letter of condolence by Rabbi Meir Hirsh addressed to the family was given. It expressed their understanding and solidarity in grief pain and sorrow.[104]

International[edit]

  • Colombia The Government of Colombia, through a released statement, condemned the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir that took place in the city of Jerusalem and made a call to hold those responsible against the law in the shortest time possible. Colombia also urged the involved parties to "avoid acts of violence and restore understatement".[105]
  • United States Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement condemning the murder and calling Israel and the Palestinian Authority "to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of violence and bring their perpetrators to justice".[106] Later, on 20 August, the United States expressed concern, through Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf, that Israel was targeting the family. Another cousin, also an American citizen, of the Khdeir family had been arrested on July 28 and held in detention without Israel notifying the US consulate. Concern was also expressed over "the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities." [16]
  • European Union EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton issued a statement condemning the murder and expressing concern over the potential for more violence. Ashton urged Israelis and Palestinians to exercise "maximum restraint" in the wake of the deaths.[107]
  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the attack was a "despicable act" and demanded the perpetrators be brought to justice.[108]

Other reactions[edit]

Mother of one murdered Israeli teen[edit]

Rachel Fraenkel, mother of 16 year-old Naftali, when she heard that a Palestinian teenager had been murdered in apparent revenge for her son, condemned it immediately. She broke into her own period of mourning to issue a statement: "There is no difference between blood and blood. Murder is murder. There is no justification and no atonement for murder."[109]

In another occasion Rachel Fraenkel stated: "Even in the abyss of mourning for Gil-Ad, Eyal and Naftali, it is difficult for me to describe how distressed we are by the outrage committed in Jerusalem – the shedding of innocent blood in defiance of all morality, of the Torah, of the foundation of the lives of our boys and of all of us in this country. Only the murderers of our sons, along with those who sent them and those who helped them and incited them to murder – and not innocent people – will be brought to justice: by the army, the police, and the judiciary; not by vigilantes. No mother or father should ever have to go through what we are going through, and we share the pain of Mohammed's parents."[110][111]

Media bias allegations[edit]

Pro-Palestinian voices and media watchdogs alleged that there are differences in the way the Western media responded to Abu Khdeir's case and the one that immediately preceded it, that of the slain Israeli teens. More specifically, whereas the latter case was shown from the perspective of the shocked Israeli nation, of the aggrieved family and friends of the teens, the media take on Abu Khdeir's murder focused on the potential for further revenge attacks and the Israeli Jewish fear of instability after chaotic protests took place in Israeli Arab towns over Khdeir's murder.

Attention was called to the New York Times take on the two events; whereas the article on the Israeli teens' funeral, titled a Trail of Clues Leading to Victims and Heartbreak, was illustrated by a picture of teenagers crying their friends' deaths in a hug, the article on Khdeir, titled Possible Revenge Killing Adds to Tension in Israel, written by Isabel Kershner, was illustrated with the picture of a male protester, presumably Palestinian or Israeli Arab, with his face masked in a keffiyeh, throwing back a gas can.[112] According to Rania Khalek, a frequent contributor to the Electronic Intifada website, a cousin of Khdeir's told her that after Khdeir's murder, the New York Times' correspondent in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, "harassed her family about honor killings [and Khdeir's] unmanly friends".[113]

The NYT's Jerusalem correspondent, Jodi Rudoren, was criticized as being a 'stenographer' for the Israeli police after giving what critics feel was too much space in an article about Tareq Khdeir's brutal beating at the hands of Israeli police to its spokesman Micky Rosenfeld so that he could justify the beating.[114] Yousef Munayyer, executive director for The Palestine Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, also criticized her article for producing a distorted chronology of the events that took place during Tareq's arrest: Rudoren's article alleged that he was beaten and then handcuffed, whereas the video showed the inverse, that Tareq was beaten after he had been subdued, thereby making the police's actions even less justifiable.[115]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Kershner, Isabel (6 July 2014). "Suspects Arrested in Death of Palestinian Youth, Israeli Police Say". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Official: Autopsy shows Palestinian youth burnt alive". Ma'an News Agency. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Palestinian teen abducted, killed in suspected revenge attack". Ma'an News Agency. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Ben Zion, Ilan; Berman, Lazar (2 July 2014). "Arab teen killed in capital; revenge attack suspected". The Times of Israel. Archived from the original on 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  6. ^ Hoff, Mallory (3 July 2014). "Family of slain Palestinian teen lives in Sacramento". KCRA Television Sacramento. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Israel arrests suspects in murder of Palestinian teen". Ma'an News Agency. 6 July 2014. Retrieved July 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d Attila Somfalvi; Omri Efraim; Itay Blumental (7 July 2014). "Three suspects in murder of Arab teen confess to crime". Ynetnews. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Palestinians blame Israel for killing of Arab teen". The Times of Israel. July 2, 2014. 
  10. ^ Isabel Kershner (2014-07-14). "A Focused Hunt for a Victim to Avenge Israelis' Deaths". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ a b "Teen's mom condemns revenge killings; Peres turned away". The Canadian Jewish News. JTA. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Abu Khdeir family rejects Israeli condolences for son's death". Maan News Agency. 08/07/2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ a b Carlstrom, Gregg (4 Jul 2014). "Shocked Palestinian family waits to bury son". Al Jazeera English. 
  14. ^ "משפחות פרנקל ואבו חדיר שוחחו "מבינים את האובדן"" [Familes of Fraenkel and Abu Khdeir discuss "understand the loss"] (in Hebrew). nrg. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  15. ^ Shahar Chai (6 July 2014). "Netanyahu to Abu Khdeir family: We'll bring Mohammed's killers to justice". Ynetnews. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c 'US accuses Israel of targeting Abu Khdeir family,' Ma'an News Agency 21 August 2014.
  17. ^ a b "US concerned by Israeli arrests of killed teenager's family members". The Guardian. 21 August 2014. 
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