MPAC Calls on Sec. Kerry to Intervene in Israeli Beating of Florida Teenager

July 5, 2014

Today, the Muslim Public Affairs Council sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling upon him to intervene on behalf of 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir, who was beaten at the hands of Israeli police officers in Shuafat, Jerusalem.

A video shows the teenager being handcuffed and lying face-down while one officer sits on him as another strikes him with repeated punches and kicks. Throughout the ordeal, Khdeir does not appear to struggle or fight back. After two minutes of pummeling the boy, the officers drag his limp and seemingly unconscious body away.

Khdeir is the cousin of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old Palestinian who was kidnapped and burned to death in what is strongly suspected to be a revenge killing for the recent appalling kidnappings and deaths of three Israeli teenagers.

Violence has escalated rapidly since the kidnappings on June 12, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordering missile strikes, as well as conducting mass arrests, home demolitions, rockets being launched into Gaza and bloody clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.

In the letter, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati calls on the Secretary to:

  • Call for the immediate release of Khdeir, as well as urgently needed medical attention.
  • Call for a moment of silence at the upcoming State Department Iftar in honor of all the children who have been killed, injured, or been taken from their families in this conflict.

The letter states in part:

“Tariq Khdeir was born in the United States and is an American citizen. No matter what country or situation, an unresponsive juvenile should not be hit, struck, or kicked while subdued. This is a violation of not only Israeli law, but internationally-accepted standards of prisoner treatment. The downward spiral of violence in the region is a travesty and no easy solution is available. However, it is our nation’s responsibility to take care of our own, and the shocking treatment of an American citizen must not go unnoticed."

Since 2000, 129 Israeli children and 1,523 Palestinian children have been killed in the conflict.

“Children have been the unseen victims of this conflict from day one,” Al-Marayati said. “The ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands is the main culprit. The cycle of violence marked by murder and revenge hurts civilians and does nothing to address the broader conflict. We appreciate voices of calm and restraint on all sides who have not given into deadly instincts for anger and revenge. We join our voices with theirs to say ‘No matter what, innocent people’s human rights and safety must be held sacred.'”

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