16-year old Mohammad AbuKhdeir was standing outside of his family home in Jerusalem one evening just like any other night. The daily fast for Ramadan was about to end and he was waiting to break fast with friends and family and to pray together. Three men pulled up in a car and asked for directions. AbuKhdeir gave them directions but before he could react the men pulled him into the car and sped off. They beat, stabbed and set the young boy on fire. His body was found in a Jerusalem forest hours later.
AbuKhdeir had many family members in California and on July 3 the family spoke out at a Sacramento press conference and community gathering. The grieving family took the stage and spoke of AbuKhdier saying that he “was an innocent boy… He had nothing to do with the three settler boys who were abducted …and found dead… And yet he paid the price for them because he was abducted by three vigilante Israeli men who were incited by the words of Netanyahu and the Israeli government who were seeking… [and] calling for vengeance”.
The family explained that to add insult to injury the Israeli police supposedly investigating the killing demanded the family sign an affidavit claiming the killing was only the result of a family dispute or they would not release the body. The family refused to sign and were thus denied the body for days and could not hold a proper burial. The family and participants in the gathering called for justice, and they called for peace and for change.
The Israeli men who committed this horrific murder have not yet been brought to justice and if the Israeli government has its way they won’t. As horrible as this crime was the men were only one part of the bigger wave of terror Israel is unleashing on the Palestinian people using the killing of three Israeli settler youth as a pretext. The Israeli military, police, and armed racist gangs have been inflicting a collective punishment (illegal in international law) of raids, mass arrests, beatings, and bombings on the Palestinians.
AbuKhdeir’s murderers were carrying out the very vengeance Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to in his statement which said in part: “Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created.’; neither has vengeance for the blood of three pure youths, who were on their way home to meet their parents, who will not see them anymore. Hamas is responsible – and Hamas will pay”.
Netanyahu is only exploiting the killings of the three young settlers in order to further his own Zionist agenda of occupation and genocide with the full backing of U.S. imperialism. Israel and U.S. imperialism are the true enemy of peace. We must all stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of these attacks until we win justice.