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 —