Daily Israel Report

Murdered Arab Teen's Family 'Refused' Peres Visit

Abu Khder family refused presidential and possibly rabbinical visit as well, took Netanyahu's call 'by accident.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 7/8/2014, 6:38 PM

Mohammed Abu Khder's parents
Mohammed Abu Khder's parents
Flash 90

The family of Mohammed Abu Khder, the 16-year-old Arab resident of Jerusalem found burned to death last Wednesday, has reportedly refused visits by Israeli leaders, and only took Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's condolence phone call by mistake.

Abu Khder's family told the Arab Ma'an News Agency on Monday that they "refused to welcome" outgoing President Shimon Peres, who on Monday tried to visit the family in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.

According to members of the family, "bodyguards of Shimon Peres came to the tent earlier to prepare for his visit," but the family refused to let him come.

Not to be rebuffed, Peres spoke on the phone on Monday with Hussein Abu Khder, Mohammed's father, saying "I am ashamed on behalf of my nation and grieve with you," and vowing "justice will be done."

Another phone call received by Hussein Abu Khder was from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - but according to the Abu Khder family member who spoke with Ma'an News Agency, Hussein had no idea he was speaking with the prime minister of Israel.

The relative said Hussein received "dozens of phone calls from foreigners and Israelis paying their condolences, but he did not realize one of them was Netanyahu and was surprised when media published this.”

He added that the family "rejected" Netanyahu's condolences, saying "we refuse to accept the condolences of someone who agrees on the murder of our people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza."

In the phone call, Netanyahu promised Abu Khder's father "we acted immediately to locate the murderers; they will be brought to trial and justice will be served against them."

Refusing rabbis, not leftists

While some MKs have been allowed to visit the Abu Khder home - including Arab MKs Hanin Zoabi (Balad) and Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List), as well as Labor MKs Shelly Yachimovich, Amir Peretz and Avraham Burg - a visit by a delegation of rabbis has apparently been canceled, reports JTA.

The delegation, led by Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau, who firmly condemned the murder, was canceled, although it remains unclear if that was because the family refused or due to security concerns amid the ongoing violent Arab riots since the murder.

One delegation that apparently was accepted is that of the "interfaith" group Tag Meir, which chartered buses to bring 600 Israelis to visit the family on Tuesday in a visit the group says was coordinated with the family.

The snubbing of Israeli leaders and rabbis comes after Hussein Abu Khder on Tuesday was interviewed on Israel Public Radio with Shmuel Shai Cohen, the grandfather of murdered Israeli teen Gilad Sha'ar hy"d.

In the interview, Hussein rejected the notion that Hamas terrorists murdered the three teens Sha'ar, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Frenkel, saying "you have no proof," and rejected a joint condolence call by the families of the three and his family.

As noted there have been large scale violent Arab riots since the murder, which were encouraged by Abu Khder's mother last Friday, when she called for violent "revenge" against Israelis, saying the violence was "concern for the Palestinian people."

Abu Khder's mother added that the rioting, which has included multiple incidents of suspected arson terror, injured IDF soldiers and Israeli press officials, and destroyed three Jerusalem Light Rail stations, are a form of Arab residents "exercising their rights."

While the clear facts of the case and the motives behind the murder remain unclear, the father of one of the six suspects in the murder said the main suspect, his brother-in-law, has psychological problems, claiming "if he did do something like this, it's because of his sickness." Three of the six suspects confessed under interrogation to committing the murder on Monday.