A Florida teen remains under house-arrest in Jerusalem. Fifteen-year-old Tariq Khdeir was attending a demonstration related to the death of his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, when he was arrested and beaten.
Hassan Shibly, executive director with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, claims the beating came at the hands of Israeli soldiers.
“You can see video of them really stomping on his face,” Shibly said.
However a statement released by the Israeli Defense Force refutes Shibly’s claim.
“It seems that the Israel Police Forces were involved in the incident, and not the IDF Forces,” the statement reads.
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that such beatings “should not happen.”
“Obviously, it is forbidden under Israeli law to beat up a suspect who is in handcuffs,” states Mark Regev.
A U.S. consular officer visited the teen in an Israeli detention center in Jerusalem and issued a statement following the visit:
“We are 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.”
Tariq described how police hit him.
”They hit me in the face, they hit me, they brutally hit me, they put me unconscious. I could not do anything about it,” Tariq said.
Israeli police say Tariq resisted arrest, attacked officers and was carrying a shepherd’s sling used for lobbing stones when he was arrested. Tariq was fined about $900 and sentenced to nine days of house arrest.
His mother, Suha Abu Khdeir, protested the continued restrictions on her son.
“I feel like he does not deserve to be on house arrest out of his own home for nine days and have a bail. On what charges? He has not been charged. There is no charge on him. Why are you putting him on house arrest? It makes no sense. I am American. I know the American law. This does not happen in America,” she said.
Tariq’s cousin, Mohammed died after being struck on the head with a blunt object and kidnapped off the street. An autopsy also showed traces of smoke in his lungs, indicating it was still breathing while the fire was burning.
Working quickly, Israeli authorities arrested six people believed to have murdered Mohammed. They have yet to release their names.
Mohammed’s mother welcomed news of the arrests but said she had little faith in the Israeli justice system.
“I don’t have any peace in my heart. Even if they captured who they say killed my son,” she said. “They’re only going to ask them questions and then release them. What’s the point?”
“They need to treat them the way they treat us. They need to demolish their homes and round them up, the way they do it to our children,” she added.
All this comes after the bodies of the three Israeli students were found, tied-up and buried beneath a pile of rocks in an open field in an area called Wadi Tellem north of the Palestinian village of Halhul. They were found after a “tip” to look in the field, which had been previously searched
Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, were studying in West Bank yeshivas. They disappeared while hitchhiking home late at night June 12th, a week before the start of summer vacation.
Official reports are that “They know it’s the three, they will know for sure after they do the autopsy. It appears that they boys were shot to death, likely “very close to the kidnap” time, and that the prime suspects had still not been caught.
Hamas, a Palestinian militant group has been accused by Israel of taking the boys; however they have denied the kidnapping. Following the kidnappings, however Hamas ‘celebrated’ by handing out candy to Palestinian children.
In the meantime, Israel has identified at least two of the kidnappers as members of Hamas. Israel’s Shin Bet security service is working with Palestinian authorities to find Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh, who went missing the day the teenagers disappeared.
Both Qawasmeh and Aisheh have served time in Israeli prisons.