Mohammed Abu Khdeir murder: Mother speaks out after Israeli men arrested for 'nationalistic' killing

Six men have been arrested on suspicion of killing an Arab teenager who was abducted last week – and Israeli police say that they now believe it was carried out for ‘nationalistic reasons’. Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem

Israeli police arrested six men on Sunday on suspicion of the murder of a Palestinian teenager who was abducted as he walked to a mosque for dawn prayers.

The men are Jewish and were arrested in their homes in Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and the settlement of Adam, a short drive from the site of the abduction.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted last Wednesday and his charred body found a short while later in a Jerusalem forest in what Palestinians say was a revenge killing for the earlier deaths of three Israeli teenagers. Palestinian forensic scientists suggested that he was still alive when he was set alight.

Israeli police have said that they now believe the murder was carried out for “nationalistic” reasons. Last week police said they were investigating whether Abu Khdeir could have been killed by Palestinians for criminal or moralistic reasons.

In east Jerusalem, home to the most-violent protests over the teenager’s death, Abu Khdeir’s family said news of the arrests brought them little joy.

 

“I don’t have any peace in my heart, even if they captured who they say killed my son,” said his mother, Suha.

“They’re only going to ask them questions and then release them. What’s the point?”

“They need to treat them the way they treat us,” she added.

“They need to demolish their homes and round them up, the way they do it to our children.”

His father, Hussein, said the family still had not been officially informed of any arrests.

“Even if they rounded up all of Israel, they will not bring my son back,” he said.

Video: Cousin of murdered Palestinian teen beaten and jailed

On the day the Israeli teenagers were buried, hundreds of young, right-wing Israelis marched through Jerusalem, screaming for revenge and chanting “death to Arabs”. Hours later, Abu Khdeir was abducted near his home and his body was found shortly afterward. Palestinians immediately accused Jewish extremists of killing the youth.

Murdered: Mohammed Abu Khdeir was only 16 Murdered: Mohammed Abu Khdeir was only 16 Israeli hard-liners, often motivated by religious zeal, are widely believed to be behind vandalism attacks in Israel and the West Bank on mosques, churches, Palestinian farmland and even Israeli military property.

Murky groups refer to these attacks as the “price tag” for what they consider to be government policies that unfairly favour Palestinians.

In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an American-born settler, entered a Muslim prayer hall in the West Bank city of Hebron and gunned down 29 worshippers before being killed by survivors of the massacre. The following year, a Jewish ultranationalist assassinated then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to derail his peace efforts with the Palestinians.

President Shimon Peres said on Sunday that Israel would get to the bottom of Abu Khdeir’s killing and bring whoever is responsible to justice.

The funeral of Mohammed Abu Khdeir in East Jerusalem (Getty) The funeral of Mohammed Abu Khdeir in East Jerusalem (Getty) “If Jews are becoming killers, they will be put to court like any killer,” he told a gathering of foreign journalists in the southern town, Sderot, where he was meeting with local residents enduring the rocket barrages from neighboring Gaza.

“Whoever was killed for us was murdered, for us is a victim,” he added.

Israeli media speculated that the arrested men were already well known to the police and were linked to hooligans who support Beitar Jerusalem football club. Some Beitar fans are renowned for their hatred of Palestinians and have forced the club to reject the signing of Muslim players.

Last year, Evyatar Yosef, 21, a member of La Familia, the team’s hardcore fan club known for its racist chants and extreme right-wing views, was sentenced to 22 months in prison for setting light to the club’s offices in protest at Beitar signing two Muslim players from Chechnya. The contracts of Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev’s were not extended at the end of last season.

CCTV footage of two of the six Israeli men arrested on suspicion of murdering Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, on the night of his abduction in Jerusalem last week CCTV footage of two of the six Israeli men arrested on suspicion of murdering Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, on the night of his abduction in Jerusalem last week The Jerusalem District Court also handed a 10-month suspended sentence to Matan Navon, 23, another fan involved in the arson.

Protests spread over the weekend from Jerusalem to Arab towns in northern Israel, with hundreds of people throwing rocks and fire bombs at officers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Police said that 22 Israeli Arabs were arrested in clashes on Saturday.

Israeli Arabs, unlike Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, hold citizenship rights. But they often face discrimination and many identify with the Palestinians.

Clashes had mostly subsided by Sunday, but the situation remained tense. Police said a Jewish woman was attacked and lightly wounded yesterday by a group of Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Old City. Her husband fired his weapon and the attackers fled. Police were searching  for them.

Israeli police filmed beating up Tariq Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir Israeli police filmed beating up Tariq Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir
Also yesterday, the cousin of Abu Khdeir was released from jail and placed under house arrest. Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 15-year-old American of Palestinian descent was filmed as he was beaten up by Israeli police. He was crying as he returned to his family and appeared badly bruised, with both eyes and his mouth swollen.

“I feel better, I am excited to be back home,” he said.

The US State Department said it was “profoundly troubled” by reports of his beating and demanded an investigation, which Israel’s Justice Ministry quickly launched.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Bianca Miller in the final of The Apprentice
tvMark Wright and Bianca Miller fight for Lord Sugar's investment
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
News
i100
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick