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Daily Israel Report

International Community Call for 'Restraint' Despite Arab Riots

UN, US State Dept. believe unconfirmed rumors Arab teen's murder was 'vengeance,' calls on Israel to 'act with restraint' despite riots.
By AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 7/2/2014, 7:28 PM / Last Update: 7/2/2014, 10:46 PM

Arab riot in response to murder
Arab riot in response to murder
Flash 90

The United States condemned the killing of a Palestinian Arab teenager on Wednesday, assuming that Israelis did kill the teen in an apparent "revenge killing" as has been claimed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). 

"There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

President Barack Obama's national security advisor Susan Rice said on Twitter that the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder was "heinous" and called on both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs to avoid a cycle of retribution and revenge.

16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder was found in the Jerusalem Forest earlier Wednesday after allegedly being forced into a black car outside Beit Hanina. 

In his statement, Kerry condemned the killing in "the strongest possible terms."

He said it was sickening to think a young boy could be "snatched off the streets and his life stolen from him and his family."

Kerry noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had condemned the killing and urged Israelis not to take the law into their own hands.

"Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation," Kerry said. "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."

"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," he added. 

Nationalistic or criminal?

Israeli leaders - including the mayor of Jerusalem and Prime Minister Netanyahu - rushed to condemn the murder, after rumor circulated that it was the work of Jewish extremists looking for "revenge" over the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha'ar and Eyal Yifrah. 

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as well as some in the international media, have since repeated those claims as fact. But Israeli police have said it is far from clear at this point whether the attack was "nationalistic" or "criminal" in nature, and urged "responsibility" over reporting on it. without specifying further.

One retired police officer familiar with the family involved and the Beit Hanina area who spoke to Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity Wednesday afternoon stated that in his opinion the murder is most likely the work of internal clashes within the boy's family. 

But those claims remain unconfirmed as well, and the police investigation into the killing is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the news has led to an immense show of violence, with Israeli Arabs rioting throughout Jerusalem and lobbing bombs and projectiles at police officers.

Hamas rocket fire on Israel has increased as well, with six rockets being fired since 4:30 pm Wednesday and ten since Wednesday morning. 

Rejecting hype

British officials also condemned the murder on Wednesday, but did not assume that Israelis were responsible for the teen's murder. 

"I'm appalled by the murder of a Palestinian teenager," Cameron wrote on Twitter. 

"The loss of four boys this week is a terrible reminder of the need for lasting peace."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned the killing of the Palestinian teen and said it was "vital that the people responsible for this crime are held accountable."

French President Francois Hollande, while also calling for "the utmost restraint," also refrained from assigning blame.

A statement released from the Elysee Palace said Hollande "condemns in the strongest possible manner this heinous crime and sends his condolences to his family." 

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for justice over the "despicable act", while joining British Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Committee of the Red Cross in condemning the killing.

"At this critical time, the ICRC calls on all sides to stand unequivocally against the abduction and murder of civilians," said Red Cross president Peter Maurer. "The current spiral of violence, loss and suffering must stop now."