Just hours after 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir left for Ben Gurion International Airport to return home to Tampa, Florida, Israeli police raided and ransacked the home of his family in the Shufat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The police arrested Abu Khdeir’s uncle and cousins without charges.
The Israeli motive appears to have been revenge for the family’s role in publicizing CCTV footage of Abu Khdeir’s brutal beating at the hands of Israeli police, and their public campaign to secure his return to the US.
Abu Khdeir had been jailed without charges after being beaten inches from his life during rioting in Shufat in protest of the murder of his cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, by Israeli nationalists seeking vengeance. Footage of the beating was aired on news outlets around the world:
By beseeching a shockingly obstinate Florida congressional delegation to agitate for Abu Khdeir’s release and return home, his family generated further media attention, throwing the Israeli government on the defensive. Under pressure from the US State Department, Israeli police finally released the brutalized teen on July 16.
According to Hassan Shibly, the director of CAIR-Florida and legal counsel to the Abu Khdeir family, Tariq Abu Khdeir headed for the airport with his parents at 6 AM on July 17. Back in Shufat, the day passed without any disturbances. At 1 AM, however, a squadron of Israeli police burst into the Abu Khdeir family home in Shufat and ransacked the place, smashing furniture and emptying cabinets with reckless abandon.
The police left with Tariq Abu Khdeir’s 59-year-old uncle, Iesa, in handcuffs, along with his cousins Musaa and Anen.
Musaa Abu Khdeir’s mother told Shibly she was informed by a magistrate judge that her son and Iesa Abu Khdeir would be released but they remain in custody.
According to Shibly, the family is “terrified.”
As the army bombards Gaza by sky and invades it by land, pushing the civilian death toll over 200, the police raid back in Shufat suggests that Israel’s thirst for revenge has become insatiable.