The father of the 16-year-old boy whose scorched body was found in the Jerusalem Forest on Wednesday morning said Thursday that police haven’t contacted him to update him on the investigation into his son’s death, nor have they allowed him to see his son’s body.
“They didn’t even let me see him, to see a photo of him,” the father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, told Army Radio. “The police didn’t want me to [identify him]. ‘[The body] is burned,’ they told me.”
Hussein said he was certain his son Muhammad was kidnapped, killed and burned by Israeli Jews, “probably settlers or the Shin Bet.” He said footage from a surveillance camera located near the site of the kidnapping clearly showed three men, all of them Hebrew-speakers, seizing his son.
“We saw. There are cameras. We saw how they took him,” he said.
“I have the footage. You can see a car arrive at around 4 a.m., 4:10, 4:05. The car arrived, two people got out, and one stayed [in the car]. They came, took him and forced him into the car.”
Hussein added that it was not the first time the group had attempted a kidnapping in the area. Rather, he said, on Tuesday afternoon, the same men had come to Shuafat and tried to kidnap someone off the street. A few hours later, they succeeded in forcing 16-year-old Muhammad into their car.
Reports of the earlier attempted kidnapping had surfaced in the aftermath of Abu Khdeir’s murder.
“The same people. And the police came, and they saw their car in photos, and didn’t do anything. One day before [the kidnapping],” Hussein Abu Khdeir charged. A day later, when they finally managed to kidnap someone — his son — they “killed him in cold blood and burned him.”
Hussein placed the blame squarely on Israel’s shoulders. “It’s all your government’s [fault],” he said. “The government allows the settlers to do what they want, it includes them in its government, it can’t say anything to them. What can I tell you? The government gives them what they want. What can I do?”
He insisted that it was Israelis who kidnapped and killed his son, and not a rival Arab clan, stating that his son looked too young to be targeted in a clan feud. “If you saw Muhammad, you would think he was 10 years old, not 16. He’s small, even the village leaders can’t talk to him,” he said.
Describing his son as a boy “everyone loved,” an “honest person who never did anything [bad] in his life,” Hussein said Muhammad had “no special plans” for the next day.
“He was supposed to go to school,” he said. “He studies at [the] Amal [vocational school], in Atarot,” on the northern edge of Jerusalem. “He was studying to be an electrician, like me. He wanted to become an electronics technician.”
Hussein said that on the morning of his disappearance, Muhammad had woken up before sunrise, as he was to fast throughout the day in keeping with the strictures of the Ramadan holiday.
“He fasted. He woke up in the morning, as usual, at night, and what happened, happened,” he said.
Asked how his Jewish acquaintances had reacted to Muhammad’s death, Hussein said Jews had come to express their condolences to the grieving family.
“They share [my pain]. What else can they do?”