Revenge Killing in Wake of Settler Funerals

A Palestinian teenager from east Jerusalem was kidnapped and killed early Wednesday in a suspected act of revenge for the murder of three Israeli youths, army radio reported.

The killing sparked a wave of clashes in east Jerusalem where around 200 angry young Palestinians threw stones at police, who responded with sound bombs and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent and police said.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed they were investigating reports of a kidnapping and said they had found a body but refused to say whether the two incidents were connected. She did not give details on the victim’s identity.

“In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police received a report of a person being forced into a car in Beit Hanina,” Samri told AFP, referring to a well-heeled east Jerusalem neighbourhood.

“Within an hour, a body was found in Jerusalem that has still not been identified. We are looking to see if there is a connection between the two incidents.”

Quoting witnesses, army radio said a black car had stopped next to a youth who was hitchhiking and he was forced inside. The car then took off.

Sometime later, the family of the youth, who is understood to be around 16, reported him missing, it said.

The body was discovered in a forest in Givat Shaul in southwest Jerusalem. An AFP correspondent said police had sealed off a large area around the neighbourhood.

A body was found shortly afterwards in another part of the city, the radio said, describing it as a “suspected revenge attack” for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers from the southern West Bank on June 12.

Backlash

Israel has blamed Hamas for their murders of the three Israeli teens. Hamas denies that it had anything to do with the teens’ disappearance or murder but have also refused to condemn the attack.

The backlash to the kidnap and murder of the three Israelis was swift. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested since 12 June, at least 6 Palestinians have been killed, houses have been raided and vandalised and the house of one of the suspected kidnappers, whose whereabouts is unknown, was blown up by the Israeli army. Gaza has also been targeted in at least 36 airstrikes.

Within hours of the funeral of the Israeli teens, 200 Israelis rampaged through Jerusalem, stopping cars and the light rail and shouting “Death to Arabs,” police and witnesses said.

Many people reported being targeted in the streets for being Arab: “I was in the middle of a Ramadan meal. Someone passed by and noticed I am an Arab,” said Mohammed Sayyad of A-Tor. “He called out to everyone else, saying ‘Here’s an Arab, here’s an Arab.’ They started throwing stones and spraying gas, and cursing, ‘Tomorrow we’re going to kill you.'”

Police said 47 people were arrested, and five Palestinians were attacked, two needing medical treatement.

Mob of Israelis engaged in a violent standoff with police in the centre of Jerusalem, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. Five Palestinians were attacked and two of them needed medical treatment.

New Settlement Drive

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has called on his government to respond to the death of three teenage West Bank settlers by embarking on a fresh settlement drive that would include new settlements built in the trio’s memory, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

Ya’alon presented a plan during a Monday cabinet meeting – prepared by Israel’s Civil Administration authorities – featuring plans to expand Israeli settlement projects, the paper reported.

Proposals include issuing construction tenders for thousands of new housing units in settlement blocs located on occupied Palestinian land.

Construction of a new settlement inside one of the blocs to be named after the three slain settlers is also proposed, the paper said.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, however, opposed the move, threatening to vote down the cabinet decision.

“It is wrong to split the nation along ideological lines of [settlement] construction that the entire nation is not behind,” Livni was quoted as saying.

(Middle East Eye – www.middleeasteye.net)

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