Kerry Phones Netanyahu to Discuss Murder of Arab Teen

PM Netanyahu tells Kerry that he has asked for an investigation to find out who murdered Palestinian Arab teen.

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Elad Benari,

Binyamin Netanyahu and John Kerry (file)
Binyamin Netanyahu and John Kerry (file)
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Wednesday night with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu regarding the killing of a Palestinian Arab teenager, AFP reports.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that during the telephone conversation between the two, Netanyahu told Kerry he had "asked for an investigation to find out who was responsible for the despicable murder as soon as possible, that anyone who takes a life will be punished severely."

Netanyahu also said "that he had publicly called for all sides not to take the law into their own hands," she added, according to AFP.

Earlier Wednesday, Kerry condemned the killing of the Arab teen, assuming that it was carried out by Israelis as an act of revenge for the murders of three Israeli teens by terrorists.

The motive for the murder has yet to be established, and there have been reports that the abduction was carried out by Arabs and that the murder was an "honor killing" or another kind of criminal murder.

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."

"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.

The European Union also joined international leaders in condemning the killing of the teenager, saying it was "extremely concerned" about the potential for more violence.

"We condemn in the strongest terms the killing of a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem," EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

"The perpetrators of this act must be brought to justice," she said.

Ashton urged Israelis and Palestinian Arabs to exercise "maximum restraint" in the wake of the deaths.

"We are extremely concerned about the latest developments which increase the risk of further escalation," she said.