Palestinians are now accusing Israelis of conducting a “revenge attack” in response to the abduction and killing of three Israeli boys. The discovery of a murdered Arab teen’s bodies sparked violence in Jerusalem today.
Israeli security forces and Palestinian civilians engaged in intense fighting Wednesday morning following a report that Israelis kidnapped an Arab teenager. Israel has yet to conform the circumstances of the 16-year-old’s disappearance, but the kidnapping has already increased tensions in the region and intensified the already escalating violence.
Street battles erupted between the two sides in the home neighborhood of the Arab boy, an area annexed by Israel. Palestinians threw stones and firebombs at Israel police, whereas the Israelis set up roadblocks in order to block the attacks. The Israelis also responded with teargas, rubber bullets and smoke grenades. Palestinian protestors attacked two Israeli journalists.
This street violence occurred in response to a report early Wednesday that a teenage boy, Abu Kheider, had been pulled into a car in the Shafuat neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Despite Israeli police forces setting up roadblocks in attempts to find the boy, an hour and a half later the boy’s body was found on the outskirts of the city.
While speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement about Wednesday’s events in Israel.
“[The United States] condemns in the strongest possible terms the despicable and senseless abduction and murder [of Abu Khdeir]” Kerry said. “It is sickening to think of an innocent 17 year old boy snatched off the streets and his life stolen from him and his family. There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people.”
Kerry also said that those “who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation. We look to both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of violence and bring their perpetrators to justice. The world has too often learned the hard way that violence only leads to more violence and at this tense and dangerous moment, all parties must do everything in their power to protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution.”
Netanyahu similarly called for Israeli law enforcement to work as quickly as possible to find those responsible for the capture and killing of the teenager. No perpetrator has been found yet.