Israel has detained six individuals on Sunday who may have ties to the murder of a Palestinian teenager, Mohammad Abu Khdair, who was abducted near his home in East Jerusalem earlier this week and later found burned to death in a wooded area outside the city.
According to Al-Jazeera:
Also on Sunday, an Israeli court ordered a cousin of the recent murder victim, a 15-year-old American named Tariq Khdair, who was filmed being beaten while handcuffed by two Israeli Border Police officers to remain under house arrest while an “investigation” is conducted into the incident which occurred head of Mohammad’s funeral on Thursday.
In comments to reporters after his release on Sunday, Tariq said that he was not participating in protests—only “watching” when he was grabbed by what he believes were Israeli police officers who grabbed him from the side. “And they hit me,” Tariq said, “and they kept hitting me and then I fell asleep and then I woke up in the hospital.”
Israel’s Border Police units and the IDF have a long and well-documented history of excessive force and brutality against Palestinians from which children receive little immunity.
As Palestinian journalist and activist Ali Abunimah noted on his widely-read Electronic Intifada website, “Tariq’s experience is far from rare. As of the end of April 2014, a total of 196 Palestinian children were in Israeli prisons, according to Defence for Children International Palestine Section.”
The case, continued Abunimah, has “garnered massive international media attention both because the brutal beating was caught on video and because he is a US citizen,” but typically “Israeli forces who attack Palestinians are almost never held accountable due to a pervasive culture of impunity.”
In response to Tariq’s arrest and the evidence of his treatment, the U.S. State Department said in a statement it was “profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force. We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.”
The related stories of the Khdair family now frame heightened tensions in the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip as Palestinians react angerly to what has largely been seen as the Israeli government’s policy of “collective punishment” that followed the recent murder of three Israeli teenagers.
On Saturday, the results of an autopsy performed on Mohammad Abu Khdair’s body showed that the Palestinian teenager was likely burned alive by those who abducted him on Wednesday.
As the Washington Post reports, the news of the autopsy results arrived amid continued protests that centered in the Khdair family’s East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat:
Street protests and clashes continued throughout the weekend in the West Bank while Israeli military forces have amassed on the Gaza border amid new airstrikes.
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