The US State Department today accused Israel of having a grudge against the family of kidnapped and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir, saying the Israeli government has single out his relatives for arrest since the murder.
The US complaints focused specifically on two cousins, both of whom were US citizens, who were captured and held without charges during assorted crackdowns. Tareq Abu Khdeir, the younger of the two, was savagely beaten while in custody, but has since returned to Florida. The other US citizen remains in Israeli custody, and Israel didn’t even inform the consulate it had captured a US citizen.
Two Abu Khdeirs getting arrested could easily be a coincidence, but the family says that 35 members have been arrested in the past month plus, virtually all of them in their teens and twenties, and 21 of them still under detention.
Jerusalem police defended the mass arrests, saying everyone they captured was a “rioter” and that it isn’t their fault so many of them happened to be related to the murdered teen.
The family’s lawyer says that many of the arrests were for no apparent reason, and that Israeli police are choosing to continue the detentions without any justification. One of the detained family members, a doctor, was arrested while tended to the wounded in a stone-throwing incident, and while not charged with anything, Israel has repeatedly extended his detention.