The United States on Wednesday said Israel appeared to be targeting the family of a Palestinian teen who was kidnapped and killed in July.
Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in East Jerusalem plunged to a new low on July 2 when 16-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir was snatched from an East Jerusalem street and later found dead and burned. Three Israelis have been charged with the murder, in what was apparently a revenge attack for the killing of three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found in the West Bank two days earlier.
Three days after his death, on July 5, the United States slammed Israel’s arrest of a 15-year-old cousin, Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, a US citizen. Israeli officials said he had been participating in riots, though the teen claimed to have only been watching events. A widely circulated video showed him being badly beaten by border police upon his arrest. He has since been freed and returned to Florida.
On July 28, another cousin of Abu Khdeir, also American, was arrested in Israel as well, the State Department said Wednesday. Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf identified him as “Muhammed Abu Khdeir,” which would mean his name is the same as his murdered cousin’s.
“We can confirm that Muhammed Abu Khdeir, a US citizen, was arrested on July 28. The US consulate general in Jerusalem is providing consular assistance. A consular official visited him on August 14th. The consulate is also in contact with Mr. Khdeir’s family and his lawyer,” Harf said.
Yet “we are concerned that the US consulate general in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest by the government of Israel.”
And “we are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities,” Harf added.