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State Dep’t says it ‘remains shocked’ by Abu Khdeir beating

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More news on the Tarek Abu Khdeir beating and aftermath. NBC News reporter Ayman Mohyeldin posted the photo above to Instagram with the following explanation:

July 7, 2014 | Shufat Cemetery, Occupied East Jerusalem. Tariq Khdeir kneels at the grave of his murdered cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Tariq was among the last few people to see his cousin alive before he was kidnapped and burned by suspected Jewish extremists. But Tarik was not able to attend his cousins funeral because he was in an Israeli jail after he was detained Thursday night and beaten by police. Today we went with the young Palestinian-American teen as he paid his final respects at his cousins fresh grave. #israel #palestine #shufat#jerusalem

Mohyeldin also reported on the boy’s visit to the grave on NBC Nightly News last night, the second or third report of the evening. Brian Williams introduced the report with the statement, “there are full-blown fears of an intifada-style outburst of violence.”

Meanwhile, here is some of the daily press briefing at the State Department yesterday touching on the Abu Khdeir case:

Matt Lee of AP: First, do you have any update on the American citizen who was detained and that was then put under house arrest?…

Jen PSAKI: Well first, our – we visited him in the – an official from the U.S. Consulate General visited him on July 5th and attended his hearing on July 6th. We’ve also seen the family. I don’t have anything else to read out for you in terms of his health.

Obviously, this is a case where we remain deeply concerned about the reports. In fact, we remain shocked that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly have condemned that, and any use of excessive force, of course. We’re calling – and I would reiterate our call for a speedy and transparent and credible investigation. As I understand it, he’s been interviewed for that, and so that’s moving forward.

QUESTION: You remain shocked?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we are shocked.

QUESTION: You’re shocked —

QUESTION: Well, it sounds like —

QUESTION: You’re shocked when a —

MS. PSAKI: We continue to be shocked.


QUESTION: What you were saying, I think on Thursday or in your statements over the weekend, that you remain concerned about reports that he was apparently beaten. And now you’re saying that you’re shocked that he was beaten. So it seems as if like – it doesn’t seem as if there’s any doubt, really, now. I mean, there might be a doubt as to how it happened, or the extent of it, or whether what he did – the Israeli Ambassador said that he was provoking, that he wasn’t an innocent bystander, that kind of implied that he asked for it.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Elise, a couple things, as you know, happened over the weekend. One, of course, we – our consulate – a representative from our Consulate General was able to see him. And obviously, he’s been released and is with his family now at this time. And of course, I’ve seen the comments, and our view is an arrest is justified for anyone who is guilty of committing a crime. And obviously, there’s an investigation; there’ll be a process to review that. But beating an arrestee after they are subdued and in custody is never justified. So we will let the process see itself through. But certainly, we’ve all seen him and we’ve been in touch with him, and we are continuing to call for a credible investigation.

QUESTION: Have you formally demarched the Israeli Government about it?

MS. PSAKI: We’ve been in close touch with the government, but I’m not aware of a specific demarche.

QUESTION: Do you have any concerns about the – an Israeli investigation into this incident?

MS. PSAKI: We’ve seen Prime Minister Netanyahu and other officials express strong concern about a range of these reports, and they’ve expressed a commitment to seeing through an investigation….

QUESTION: I understand that Secretary Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu over the weekend. Was this case in particular brought up, or was it about the larger kind of escalating violence?

MS. PSAKI: He reiterated – the Secretary did speak with the prime minister about a range of incidents that are happening on the ground, Elise. And certainly, the focus was on reiterating our concern about escalating tensions. And the Secretary, of course, urged Prime Minister Netanyahu – as he’s urged both parties – to exercise restraint and avoid steps that could further destabilize the situation.

QUESTION: Did he speak to prime – President Abbas?

MS. PSAKI: He has spoken with him over the course of the last several days or week. I don’t – let me see if I have anything specific over the last – he spoke with him – let’s see – I know last Tuesday. He’s been in – I think it’s important to reiterate here we’ve been in touch on the ground very closely with both parties.

QUESTION: Well, but you’ve seen the comments that are coming out of Hamas. And now that the U.S. has, in effect, kind of accepted the fact that Hamas is now in this unity government, you would think that as leader of this unity government it would be incumbent on President Abbas to rein in or take – try and maintain some kind of control over the activities of Hamas. Isn’t that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, you’re right. I mean, we’ve stated – you’re right in the sense that we have stated from the beginning that we would judge the interim government by its actions, composition, and policies. And based on what we know now, this hasn’t changed. We don’t believe that Hamas plays a role in the government. However, to your point, it is difficult to see how other aspects of the reconciliation process can move forward in this current atmosphere, and we’ve conveyed that as well.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, I understand that you – that maybe it’s a technicality that Hamas doesn’t play a part in this government, but it is a unity government that includes Hamas. And I’m just wondering, now does President Abbas more so than ever bear responsibility for the actions of Hamas?

MS. PSAKI: No. But we have – President Abbas himself has suggested that there would be serious consequences for whatever party carried out the crimes that we’ve been talking about over the last several weeks. And as I mentioned, it’s difficult for us to see, given this current atmosphere, how other aspects of the reconciliation process could continue.

QUESTION: Just one quick last one. Did Secretary Kerry mention the specific case of this Israeli – Palestinian teen that was beaten?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any other further details, but I think it’s safe to assume when he’s talking about the escalating tensions on the ground, he’s talking about all of the reports that you’ve seen in the news that we’ve all been discussing.

QUESTION: Did you have a response, reaction – and forgive me if I missed it – to the Palestinian teenager who was killed, the cousin of this – or did that happen over the —

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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36 Responses

  1. just on July 7, 2014, 8:29 pm

    Precious innocent boys with stones… thin reeds with a flag… RIP

    Never forgotten.

  2. annie on July 7, 2014, 9:37 pm

    Tariq was among the last few people to see his cousin alive before he was kidnapped

    oh really. allison’s reporting, earlier in the day on july 3, before tarek was beaten and abducted:

    “They want the family to get the boys for questioning,” said Walid Abu Khdeir, the deceased’s uncle. “We refused this. If you want them come and capture them,” he continued.

    maybe that’s why they captured tarek from his uncle’s backyard (back when they were bent on proving muhammad was burned alive as part of a family affair, before the goi admitted what everyone knew, that it was a nationalistic revenge killing) to bring him in for questioning, after “softening him up”.

    this was before they released muhammad’s body back to the family for burial. to pressure the family to sign false documents claiming they were in some kind of family feud. maybe this is why they felt they needed to question tarek for 2 weeks or whatever ridiculous length of time the police claimed they needed to question him.

    • just on July 7, 2014, 10:05 pm

      Thank you Annie. I missed that completely…Ayman posted a beautiful picture without the facts.

      I read everything here, there and everywhere, and missed that crucial part that you caught. Thank you.

      • annie on July 7, 2014, 10:20 pm

        actually just, i didn’t catch it. it’s in the blockquote right below the photo, so thank phil for that.

        on the evening of july 3rd, within seconds of seeing tarek’s beaten face for the first time i learned he was muhammad’s cousin, and of course this occurred to me, why he was picked up (for questioning). but it wasn’t til reading this post tho, that i understood he was one of the last people to see his cousin alive.

        this makes it all the more reason to not to see his abduction by the cops as any kind of coincidence. why were undercover cops targeting him? why were the faces of the cops covered in the video.

      • chocopie on July 7, 2014, 11:56 pm

        I think you’re on to something there. Too much of a coincidence.

    • Ismail on July 8, 2014, 6:13 am

      Annie, isn’t “nationalistic” the term Israel uses to distinguish ordinary street crime from politically-based attacks, which they would call “terrorism” if committed by Palestinians?

      Why use their euphemisms? It wasn’t a “nationalistic revenge killing”, it was terrorism.

      • annie on July 8, 2014, 6:55 am

        isn’t “nationalistic” the term Israel uses to distinguish ordinary street crime from politically-based attacks

        it’s still terrorism ismail. ‘nationalistic’ is not an israeli term, it means he was killed because of the nation he came from (or the ethnicity) it means it was a hate crime based on nationality vs other motivating factors.

        In both crime and law, hate crime (also known as bias-motivated crime) is a usually violent, prejudice motivated crime that occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group. Examples of such groups include but are not limited to: ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, or sexual orientation.[1][2]

        it does not lesson the crime.

    • Kay24 on July 8, 2014, 9:01 am

      Good point Annie. Perhaps they wanted to silence him. Anything is possible with these Israelis, and they are so devious. We should not consider any action innocent, until it is very clear.

      • hophmi on July 8, 2014, 2:20 pm

        “Anything is possible with these Israelis, and they are so devious. ”

        Yes, they’re so devious that they arrested the perpetrators of the Muhammed Abu Khdeir murder in under a week and defined them as Jewish terrorists.

        Meanwhile, the murderers of Eyad, Gilad, Naftali remain at large.

      • Kris on July 8, 2014, 3:15 pm

        @hophmi: “Meanwhile, the murderers of Eyad, Gilad, Naftali remain at large.”

        Hophmi, there were videos of the kidnappers in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, which narrowed the search quite a bit.

        No one knows who killed Eyad, Filad, and Naftali, which is odd when you consider that they were kidnapped in an area under full Israeli security control. You’d think there would have been security cameras there.

        It is too soon to start criticizing the Israeli detectives for failing to solve this case; it is still early days in their investigation.

      • talknic on July 8, 2014, 3:55 pm

        @ hophmi “Meanwhile, the murderers of Eyad, Gilad, Naftali remain at large”

        I see. So Israel has been arresting and slaughtering innocent people. AMAZING!

        Meanwhile the murderers of the two un-armed youths by the IDF caught on video have been sentenced? Their homes demolished? Their relatives arrested?

      • just on July 8, 2014, 4:02 pm

        You forgot the part where any family member gets targeted & beaten to a pulp.

        Anyone will do, preferably a person of small stature for maximum effect.

      • Kay24 on July 8, 2014, 4:52 pm

        Before you pin medals on Israeli officials, keep in mind that perhaps the video tapes and eye witnesses on the Palestinian side, were the reasons why they were able to arrest the criminals who so brutally killed this poor kid.
        Besides if dear Bibi did not do something to bring justice to this horrible death, he would have to answer to the rest of the world.

        Despite attacking homes, destroying personal belongings, setting fire to homes, preventing families from breaking their Ramadan fast, and acting like out of control goons, isn’t it strange the IDF could not find the killers as yet?
        In spite of all the accusations, and collective punishment, Israel has not been able to get any PROOF exactly who killed those poor Israeli kids?
        Should make anyone wonder if that overreaction and rage that the “devious” Israel displayed to the world, was an excuse to once again harass and bomb the Palestinians.

      • SQ Debris on July 9, 2014, 5:25 pm

        And the cops that beat Tariq? Have they been arrested? Have they been charged? Houses demolished? Their names released to the press? Impunity as usual for the Agents of Doom.

  3. Xpat on July 7, 2014, 11:23 pm

    why were the faces of the cops covered in the video.
    That does seem to indicate special forces, the Israeli equivalent of a SWAT team or a Shin Bet team that needs to protect their identity. It certainly points away from the Israeli claim that this was a routine riot control squad. The goons should have waited to haul Tarek into a cell before beating him up. Or is that how flagrant the Israelis have become. They don’t feel the need to hide their crimes, just to make sure the culprits’ identities are protected.

    • Djinn on July 8, 2014, 12:36 am

      Even if their faces weren’t covered they’d get away with it. They do all the time.

    • annie on July 8, 2014, 12:38 am

      The goons should have waited to haul Tarek into a cell before beating him up. Or is that how flagrant the Israelis have become. They don’t feel the need to hide their crimes,

      if he was targeted as a result of being one of the last people to see his cousin alive (which this video supports ) it lends to the idea the point of the beating was to threaten the family. it’s unlikely the squad who was pressuring the family (hours of interrogation of mohammad’s family after his murder which makes very little sense) could have anticipated the US media would be zeroing in on the beating of a palestinian teen. had the family not immediately started tweeting his face, had the neighbor not caught his beating on video, this story would have gone nowhere. thousands of palestinian children have been tortured by israel, it gets no press. they messed with the wrong family.

      if his beating was in order to get some kind of confession out of him (99.74 conviction rate) at a time the goi was pushing the story it was a family killing, then his attack was part of that pressure. but, he took a selfie. and wow, news travels fast.

  4. Citizen on July 8, 2014, 12:56 am

    How’s the cable TV news anchors been doing on this?

  5. seafoid on July 8, 2014, 3:45 am

    Mahmoud Darwish

    “Standing here, staying here, permanent here, eternal here, and we have one goal, one, one: to be.”

    Mohammed didn’t make it but at least he was buried in

  6. Walid on July 8, 2014, 5:14 am

    On EI yesterday with photo of Tareq’s disfigured face being compared to that of a pig.

    Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes

    Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Mon, 07/07/2014 – 16:12

    A day before Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khudair was kidnapped and burned alive allegedly by six Israeli Jewish youths, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked published on Facebook a call for genocide of the Palestinians.

    It is a call for genocide because it declares that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justifies its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

    It is a call for genocide because it calls for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”

    If Shaked’s post does not meet the legal definition of a call for genocide then nothing does.

    Shaked is a senior figure in the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party that is part of Israel’s ruling coalition.

    Her post was shared more than one thousand times and received almost five thousand “Likes.”

    • Kay24 on July 8, 2014, 9:14 am

      They are so full of hatred and evil, it is almost comical that they behave like this showing hatred, and reveal themselves to the world for who they are.
      I guess they do not have the intelligence to realize vile remarks like this only makes those with like minds go into rapture about it, but that the rest of the sane world would only think they belong in the sewers, and have a distaste for such vulgar behavior.

      • bintbiba on July 8, 2014, 11:03 am

        You said it, Kay24 ! Vulgar,is what they are.
        I saw her post yesterday on EI and I was heaving. I felt I needed to disinfect my eyes and my mind after taking it in. And all that bile behind a beautiful face! Diabolic.

  7. piotr on July 8, 2014, 11:03 am

    The cynic in me suggests that the mere fact that the murder of Abu Khdeir and the beating of his cousin are shocking is by far insufficient to shock our State Department etc. I can quickly list a number of events, many with pictures, that were not found shocking by the State Department and the Administration in general.

    Thus after so many years of Israel benefiting from the selective sensibilities of American government now it is subjected to scrutiny. The fact that the pictures of both Khdeir photos are so moving is a part of it, but a part of it is that Netanyahu government is a loose cannon and it is imperative for the Administration to put it in place, which is ordinarily very difficult in Washington, D.C.

    By a loose cannon I mean very literally the old naval situation when a cannon on the cannot deck got loose and rolled back and forth, breaking everything.

    Objectively, what is most terrifying is not what GoI unleashed, but what it didn’t, as the Cabinet could not agree on details. The debate on Monday was leaked to the press, on Tuesday they continued in secret, on Wednesday Muhammad Abu Khdeir was killed. In the past, under a more unified coalition and more forceful prime minister, IDF would kill several hundred Palestinians and delay the next round of the “peace process” (tactically welcome, but entailing unwanted self-limitations) for a year or few years.

  8. Citizen on July 8, 2014, 11:13 am

    Meanwhile, just to resurrect recent threads on the web site, Chomsky hits again, blaming US for everything terrible in the ME & ignoring AIPAC’s demented contribution to US infamy:
    I want to hope that Abu Khdir beating brings awakes some more Americans to just what our American Zionists and AIPAC-orchestrated bribed US government elected officials have done, and are doing. As a Florida resident, I noticed no rep or senator from Florida has yet to voice support for Khdeir and his family. Can you say Rachel Corrie? How about USS Liberty?

    • Kay24 on July 8, 2014, 4:57 pm

      Floridians should write to Ros-Lehtinen and Wasermann shultz, and ask them if the money we keep sending this rogue nation, is worth it. Especially Ros-Lehtinen, she constantly dances to AIPAC’s tune, and does more for Israel than her own constituents.

      • just on July 8, 2014, 5:06 pm

        “By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 7, 2014 9:43 AM
        A congresswoman and congressman from Florida met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, weighing in on the recent murders of three Israeli teens and other Middle Eastern matters. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the committee, met with Netanyahu on Thursday and weighed in afterward with a joint statement:

        “These last few days have been a trying and difficult time for the people of Israel after the bodies of three of their sons were found. As an entire nation mourned, we mourned with it. We conveyed our deepest sympathies to Prime Minister Netanyahu and reaffirmed to our closest ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel, that the United States stands firmly with it as it struggles to cope with the tragic loss of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad and as it seeks to bring the perpetrators to justice.

        “We also discussed with PM Netanyahu the threats that Israel faces as the stability of the region continues to deteriorate. The growing threat of extremism in Syria and Iraq, and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons program, could have severe repercussions throughout the region, and these toxic obstacles put both Israel and U.S. national security interests at risk. We vowed to continue our unwavering support for the people of Israel and their safety and security, and will do whatever we can to ensure Israel maintains her qualitative military edge so that she can defend herself from all threats.””

        She’s against the Palestinians and for continued stupidity toward Cuba.

  9. alfa on July 8, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Some things which should be recognized and applied to understanding the big picture here. They scare me.

    The mask is off, the product of the Israeli education system’s racist indoctrination is on full display. The fascists have created a number of generations who see the other without humanity primed for to commit genocide. The leaders of this mob have control of a large nuclear arsenal.

    They have a fifth column in control of the US Government giving them access to misusing the largest military. The Neo-cons possess the same disregard for humanity and many of the elite have discussed reducing the population of the earth.

  10. W.Jones on July 8, 2014, 1:03 pm

    Another shocking story should be the recent treatment of people attending a baptism in the massacred and expelled village of Al-Bassa on Israeli territory this April:
    The Israeli broke their camera, shouted “stinking Christians”, and the police were called against the people having the baptism.

    Note that this is in the Israeli State proper, which is supposed to be the civilized half that Chomsky says is “100 times” better than England.

  11. Citizen on July 8, 2014, 5:10 pm

    Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 Billion to help pay for all the Mexican kids who have streamed through our borders, many sans parents. Don’t hold your breath for anybody on US TV news debating if we should divert daily $8.5 M to Israel to help these desperate kids. We don’t divert $ to Israel to help our own desperate people.

  12. ckg on July 8, 2014, 7:04 pm

    Shorter version–
    Jen Psaki: I am shocked, shocked to find that severe beating is going on here! I am shocked!

    • ritzl on July 8, 2014, 7:23 pm

      Yep, ckg. What a shock it must be when you discover that “your own lying eyes” haven’t been lying at all.

      • Mooser on July 9, 2014, 1:40 pm

        Ritzl, I owe you a reply, and the thread on which you asked me “How has your attitude hardened” has been closed to comments. The thread on the Mizrahi experience. It was a fair question, and I asked for it so here’s an answer:

        My attitude has hardened in this way: I have become convinced, irrevocably convinced (I am over 60, and I have to draw conclusions sometime) that although the Palestinians are the primary victims of Zionism (of course, they are in the way) the real intent of Zionism, what it was designed to do, what it was created for, and what it will never give up, is to victmize Jews, as individuals or as “the Jews”.
        I’ve lost any illusions that they are in some way misguided, I think that victimizing Jews is their primary intent. You might think of it this way (and it’s a hard thing to explain without appearing to minimize Palestinian suffering, which I don’t want to do):
        ‘All the Palestinians have is the land, and the Zionists are getting that. But it’s Jews that have everything else they need, and they won’t rest until they get it, or are defeated trying. I think they intend to make slaves of us, if they can. They use our own suffering against us.

      • eljay on July 9, 2014, 2:57 pm

        >> Mooser @ July 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        Thanks, Mooser. If I ever spot you foraging in the woods near my home, I’ll buy you a beer. :-)

      • SQ Debris on July 9, 2014, 7:15 pm

        I get your feeling. It has seemed to me for a while that Zionism’s “New Jew” isn’t Jewish at all. What the 3rd Reich failed to accomplish, zionists are relentlessly pursuing – liquidation of the Jewish humanist tradition.

  13. wes on July 9, 2014, 4:03 am

    ckg says

    “i am shocked”

    you need to call an electrician to fix the problem

  14. SQ Debris on July 9, 2014, 5:30 pm

    I worry that the bad press that came from Tariq’s beeting is going to have the same effect that footage of Rabin’s “Force, Might, and Beatings” campaign of 1988/89 had on the conflict. Back then the GOI realized footage of beatings created bad press and started using live fire widely against demonstrators, presumably because it made less sensational television.

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