Jerusalem,6 July-2014(AFP):A shocking video, showing Israeli police officers savagely beating 15-year-old Palestinian-American Tarek Abu Khdeir – cousin of Mohammad Abu Khdeir who was burnt alive in East Jerusalem – has prompted outrage in the Palestinian community.
The video shows two officers striking the detainee, who was handcuffed and lying on the floor. One of the officers seems to be sitting on the Palestinian, while his colleague is kicking and punching him. The youth is eventually dragged away by the police.
Live video of beating the Palestinian teenager
The video of Tarek’s beating has surfaced as the funeral was held Friday for his cousin, Mohammad Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped in the same area and burned alive.
Kidnapped and slain Arab teen was burned alive – autopsy results
The beating, shot from two different angles by people filming from their windows, took place on Thursday evening in Shuafat, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Finally The US has condemned the beating and detention of a 15-year-old Palestinian-American by Israeli police after a massive social media campaign exploded in cyber space decrying the actions and hypocrisy of Israeli authorities.
“We can confirm that Tarek Khdeir, an American citizen, is being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. [Tarek Abu Khdeir ] was visited by an official from the US Consulate General in Jerusalem today,” US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said in a press release.
The US is “profoundly troubled” by reports that the teenager was “severely beaten while in police custody” while visiting Israel on vacation from Tampa Florida, and strongly condemns “any excessive use of force.”
“We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force,” Psaki said.
Tarek has since been arrested and held without charge, according to his family and the rights group Addameer, as reports the Ma’an News Agency.
According to a police spokesman, the incident featured in the video occurred while six “masked rioters” were being arrested. Three of them were alleged to have been carrying knives.
“They resisted arrest and attacked the soldiers,” the spokesman said, adding that Molotov cocktails were hurled toward the police, an attack he described as “nearly fatal.”
Nevertheless, he said that the incident is being investigated. According to the spokesman, some 15 soldiers and police officers were wounded in the riots in East Jerusalem on Thursday.
Tensions rose after Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s body was found on Wednesday.
Since then, dozens were injured by rubber bullets, including six journalists, and three people suffered fractures after being assaulted by Israeli police officers, Ma’an reported.
According to the Palestinian Red Cross, 232 people have been injured in these clashes, six of them by live bullets, AFP reports.
Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s body was found on Wednesday in a West Jerusalem forest. A preliminary autopsy report shows that he was burned alive by his kidnappers, a senior Palestinian official said on Friday evening. Unrest has continued in East Jerusalem after the funeral.
Israeli police, Palestinians clash in Jerusalem as Arab teen’s funeral held
Palestinians accuse right-wing Israelis of kidnapping and killing Abu Khdeir. The murder is thought to be a revenge attack in response to the killing of three Israeli teens, who were buried the day before.
Israeli police say the circumstances behind Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s killing remain unclear.
Despite the obvious need of medical attention, the Israeli authorities refused to provide him with such for 5 hours, the family said in a press release.
“While in the hospital, his face had swollen to a degree to which he could not speak when conscious and blood was also found in his urine, concerning family that there could be internal bleeding,” relatives say.
Meanwhile the aunt of the teenager told the Electronic Intifada that Palestinians have no rights in Israel. “When I talked directly to [Tarek’s] mother she said the consulate told them we have to follow the legal procedures here [in Israel]. But there are no legal procedures for Palestinians. Palestinians aren’t considered human,” Suhad said.
The boy’s father Salahedeen Khdeir said that Tarek was visiting his uncle’s house in an area where clashes continue between Israeli forces and Palestinians when he and five other teenagers were assaulted in the yard by two masked Israeli police agents. Tarek was injured the most in the incident up to the point where he was beaten to unconsciousness.
ABC News’ Alex Marquardt spoke to the Tarek’s mother Suha Abu Khdeir, who said that she is petrified to see the video of her son’s assault.
“I was infuriated, I was horrified, he is my son,” she said when asked what it was like to see her son in that condition in a hospital. “You never want to see your son in pain, especially in that kind of pain. He was not recognizable.” All the mother wants now is “justice.”
A lawyer with Addameer human rights group, who represented Tarek in court on Friday, said that the “beatings he received were severe enough to kill him, and cause severe injuries to his face and bruises on his head and chest. “
“Despite this, the Magistrate’s Court refused to release him and extended his detention to Sunday for interrogation, stating that he may flee the country as he is an American citizen,” Addameer posted on their website.
In response to inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners by Israel, the US Palestinian Community Network has organized global protests to take place in over 20 cities, starting Saturday.
“We call for an end to Israel’s collective punishment and violence against Palestinian men, women, and children. We call on mainstream US media to stop with its biased reporting, focusing on the Israeli youth killed and ignoring Palestinian youth killed. We demand fair and accurate coverage of the situation,” the network said.
Human rights groups such as End the Occupation and Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, and Addameer also joined the campaign.
“Addameer urges immediate action and calls on the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States consulate and all regional embassies and consulates, human rights organizations and journalists to attend Tarek Abu Khdeir’s hearing on Sunday 6 July to investigate the intensified aggression against Palestinian children,” the organization said in a statement.
Just Foreign Policy campaign has also called for an action plan to “Urge the State Department, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the US Consulate in East Jerusalem to protest Tarek’s beating by Israeli police, to demand that he receive adequate medical attention and due process, and to attend his court hearing on Sunday morning.”