Israel – Palestine out of control: American teen beaten by Israeli forces

Tariq Khdeir, 15
Tariq Khdeir, 15

Washington, July 6, 2014 – The violence against young people continues. Reports are that on Thursday, July 3, 2014, Tariq Khdeir, 15, a Tampa, Florida high school sophomore visiting relatives in Jerusalem for the first time in over a decade was attacked and badly beaten by Israeli security force officers.

Eyewitnesses say that he received at least 20 forceful blows, though he did not appear to be resisting. The boy is, at this writing, still being detained.

The video, which is graphic, shows a person, on the ground being viciously beat by two uniformed men, including repeated kicks to the head After the first round of beatings, they dragged the person away, hands cuffed, kicking him again in the. The teen’s mother said that it was him because of the clothing he was wearing including an Ecko T-shirt.

The person also has their head wrapped in a cloth, not unlike worn by the men, and youth seen in videos hurling rocks at Israel security forces.

Khdeir is a cousin to the boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir that was killed, burned alive after being hit in the head according to autopsies, allegedly, Israeli’s in retaliation for the killing of three teens, Naftali Frenkel (also an American citizen), Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah in June.

Khdeir is in Palestine for the funeral of his cousin.

Palestinians are claiming far-right Israeli extremists are seeking revenge for the murder of the three teens, leading to the daylight street side kidnapping of Abu Khdeir. Now Israel is being criticized for the excessive force shown in the beating of this boy.

Bill Ban Evsald, Human Rights Commission, says they have “plenty of evidence that this child of 15 was brutally beaten by Israeli law enforcement and instead of the law enforcement officials responsible for the beating being detained, the victim is being held.”

The State Department has confirmed that the youth is being held. He is expected before a Palestinian magistrate at 4:00am ET Sunday July 6, 2014.

Mark Regev, Israeli Government spokesperson says that it is against Israeli law to beat up a suspect in the manner that Khdeir was beaten.

“I think people who have that video should take it straight to the Israeli police,” he said. “There is a separate department in our Ministry of Justice who will investigate that sort of thing.”

Statements include that it was the Israel Police Force that beat the boy, not IDF forces. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has said the images “show a very serious incident by uniformed personnel, while this is not the Israeli’s law enforcement policy — yet sadly, they are the ones headlining worldwide news.”

The child was taken to a hospital, where he was kept shackled to a bed, before being sent to a detention center. His mother, Suha Abu Khdeir, said she visited her son in the hospital, but he remains in custody. She did not know why he was arrested.

The boy, who was among people protesting the death of his cousin, said that he was not among those throwing rocks at Israeli security forces. Police are saying he was part of a gang of masked youths and that there is no evidence in the video that the person being beaten is Khdeir.

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‘This is a video edited and biased that does not represent the events,’ police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said. ‘Obviously incidents took place before or after that the suspects were involved in.’

CNN reports the teens father has said that a U.S. consular officer visited Khdeir in the Israeli detention center in Jerusalem and that Khdeir does not remember the arrest. Calling the reports “troubling” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that a “speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force” is necessary.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the United States to help free the teen.
“It is the duty of American officials to intervene and secure the release of an American citizen who was so viciously attacked,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR-Florida.

Khdeir is expected to appear at the Jerusalem magistrate court at 11 a.m. Sunday (4 a.m. ET), according to his father.

Security around Jerusalem is being increased, particularly as the funeral on Friday Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was killed in Jerusalem this week, coincided with the Friday prayer services of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

There are reports of more than 60 people being injured in clashes with Israeli security forces said the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a group that said it was involved in evacuating injured Palestinians.

It said the injuries mostly involved rubber bullets fired at the upper body and chest.

This latest round of violence between Palestine and Israel comes even as reports that Egyptian intelligence officials had negotiated a new truce and that Hamas was willing to “halt” rocket attacks if Israel would cease air raids on the Gaza Strip.

Tensions are rapidly escalating after the kidnapping and killing of Naftali, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah who were not protesting or fighting, but simply walking home from school when they were abducted.

Rocket fire on Beersheba Saturday was the first since 2012, which came during intense fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.
Israel has increased air strikes aimed at the Gaza Strip and the Islamic militant group Hamas, while Palestinian rocket attacks have intensified. The Iron Dome defense system has, so far, intercepted the rockets.

The military says Palestinian militants have fired more than 150 rockets at southern Israel, and it has responded with air strikes on more than 70 targets in Gaza.

Trying to calm increasing tensions after the killing of Abu Khdeir, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to find the attackers.

‘We don’t know yet the motives or the identities of the perpetrators, but we will. We will bring to justice the criminals responsible for this despicable crime whoever they may be,’ Netanyahu said in a speech celebrating US Independence Day at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. ‘Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism, they have no place in our democracy.’

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