Israeli police admitted yesterday that they were no closer to finding suspects in the killing of a Palestinian teenager despite the availability of closed-circuit television images.
Mohammed Abu Khdeir was buried yesterday as video footage emerged of him being forced into a car in the early hours of Wednesday.
Jerusalem is one of the most security-conscious cities in the world and junctions and roads are covered by an extensive network of CCTV cameras yet Israeli police continue to insist they did not know whether the killers were Palestinian or Israeli.
Micky Rosenfeld, the police spokesman, said he had no new information to disclose on the investigation and that police were still trying to establish whether the killing was criminal or nationalistic. The investigation, he said, would “take time”.
Palestinian community leaders are convinced the police are deliberately doing nothing to find those who killed Abu Khdeir. Darwish Darwish, a community leader, said: “They are not doing a good investigation because they don’t want to expose the settler criminals. There are closed-circuit cameras that photographed the kidnappers and cars and the Israeli government is not acting on it.”
Raviv Drucker, a leading Israeli investigative journalist, criticised the police for “not revealing any information”.
In pictures: Israel reacts to deaths of kidnapped teenagers
In pictures: Israel reacts to deaths of kidnapped teenagers
Relatives and friends gather around a grave, as Gilad Shaer, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Ifrach, 19, are buried side-by-side in the central Israeli town of Modiin
Tens of thousands Israelis attend the joint funeral of Gilad Shaer, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Ifrach, 19, in the central Israeli town of Modiin
sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) eulogizes three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed in the occupied West Bank, Gil-Ad Shaer, US-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, during their joint funeral in the Israeli city of Modiin
Avi (C) and Rachel (R) Frenkel and their son (L), hold a reading close to the body of their son Naftali Frenkel, 16, (unseen) during his funeral service in the Jewish settlement of Nof Ayalon, in the Israeli occupied West Bank
A makeshift memorial site is constructed in memory of the three Israeli teenagers found dead, in Halhul, West Bank
A man attends the funeral ceremony held for the three Israeli teenagers found dead in Modiin
People attend the funeral of the three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed in the West Bank, during their joint funeral in the Israeli city of Modiin
A Jewish woman prays during the joint funeral of the three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed in the occupied West Bank, in the Israeli city of Modiin
The parents and other family members of Naftali Frankel, one of the three Israeli teens found dead, attend his funeral service in Nof Ayalon, Israel
Avi and Rachel Fraenkel attend the funeral of their son, Naftali, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, in their town of Nof Ayalon
Parents of Gilad Shaer stand next to their son's body during his funeral ceremony at his hometown Talmon Jewish settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah
Tens of thousands Israelis attend the joint funeral of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Ifrach, in the central Israeli town of Modiin
Mourners and relatives of Israeli teenager Eyal Ifrach attend his funeral outside his house, in the city of Elad
Friends and family grieve during the funeral ceremony of Gilad Shaer
Avi and Rachel Fraenkel embrace during the funeral of their son, Naftali, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Nof Ayalon
The body of 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, covered in an Israeli flag, is carried to an ambulance after his funeral service in his hometown in Nof Ayalon
Ofir, the father of Gilad Shaer, 16, hugs a mourner as they stand in front of his son's body during a funeral service at his hometown, the Talmon Jewish settlement, near the West Bank city of Ramallah
Friends of 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, crying at his funeral service in his hometown of Nof Ayalon
Women cry during the eulogy ceremony for Eyal Yifrach, one of the three Israeli teens found dead, before his funeral at the synagogue in city of Elad
Mourners, and relatives of Israeli teenager Eyal Ifrach, one of the three students abducted and then shot dead, attend his funeral outside his house, in the city of Elad in central Israel
Israelis mourns and light candles in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after the announce that the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found
Israelis mourns and light candles in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after the announce that the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found. Israel confirmed finding the bodies of three teenagers who disappeared in the southern West Bank, blaming the Islamist Hamas movement for their kidnapping and murder
Israelis march on the road near where three missing teenagers were abducted, near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Alon Shvut
“Their management of this crisis is horrible. They need to have an Arab spokesman briefing the press every six hours and saying everything they can. You need to put out information to kill rumours. At the rate they are going, even if this turns out to be a criminal act, it might not matter any more,” he said.
The slow progress of the investigation compared to the intensive hunt for the bodies of three Israeli teenagers killed in the West Bank last month added to the anger felt by mourners.
Intensive clashes erupted in occupied East Jerusalem for the third consecutive day as the funeral took place.
“It’s time for revolution, we’ve had enough,” people among the several thousand mourners chanted as the body of Abu Khdeir, 16, draped in a Palestinian flag, was brought to a mosque for ritual cleansing before burial. “With blood and spirit we will redeem the martyr,” they chanted. Later, as a masked man fired a rifle in the air, the chants shifted to “Jaffa street is on fire” – a reference to the main thoroughfare in Jewish West Jerusalem where anti-Palestinian demonstrators assembled this week – and “It’s time for payback”.
After the funeral, 300 of the mourners confronted police, with some throwing stones and petrol bombs. Police used stun grenades and non-lethal weapons and 13 officers were lightly wounded.
At the funeral, some of the mourners likened Abu Khdeir to Mohammed al-Dura, the child from the Gaza Strip child whose death as his father sought to shield him from gunfire became a symbol of Israeli cruelty and fuelled Palestinian passions at the start of the second intifada in 2000. Others tried to take comfort in the belief that Abu Khdeir had given his life for the nation. “Don’t cry, this is a wedding not a funeral,” a man told a weeping young woman.
Abu Khdeir’s burnt body was found on Wednesday in a Jerusalem forest and since then Jerusalem has been ablaze with its most serious Palestinian unrest in more than a decade. “For sure this is a new intifada,” said Darwish Darwish.
Palestinians say the murder was carried out by Israeli settlers to avenge the killings of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped near a settlement on 12 June. The funerals of the three Israelis took place on Tuesday amid widespread anger in Israel that included anti-Arab rioting in Jerusalem.
Mr Rosenfeld said last night that a forest in southern Jerusalem had been set on fire and that it was believed that Palestinians were responsible. The Israeli army said last night a confrontation was under way in Kalandia, just outside Jerusalem, where 100 Palestinians were throwing rocks. A spokeswoman said that troops were responding with fire by Ruger rifles, a hunting weapon for small game that uses .22 calibre bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas.
More than 70 Palestinians have been treated for wounds in clashes throughout the predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem area captured and annexed by Israel in 1967. Police say they have faced petrol bombs and pipe bombs in addition to stones. In Isawiya, a neighbourhood close to the Hebrew University, clashes erupted yesterday, said Mr Darwish, “This is happening because the settlers did a lot of bad things with the protection of the army and the police.”