Israel held responsible for murder of Palestinian teen
RAMALLAH: The Palestinian leadership said Wednesday it held Israel responsible for the murder of an east Jerusalem teenager in a suspected revenge attack for the killing of three Israelis.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a statement demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemn the murder and punish those who carried it out.
“I demand the Israeli government punish the killers if it wants peace between the Palestinian and Israeli people,” Abbas said.
Israel must also “take concrete steps on the ground to stop (revenge) attacks and the chaos caused by the Israeli escalation,” he said.
Shortly afterwards, Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the “despicable murder” and urging the authorities to expedite an investigation into the reasons behind it.
Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina in a separate statement heaped blame on the Israeli authorities.
“Israel is fully responsible for the killing of the teenager and we demand that the perpetrators are found and held accountable,” he said.
The violence has triggered a wave of rioting in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, with hundreds of masked Palestinians hurling stones at Israeli police in riot gear.
Israel police have confirmed finding a body in a forest in west Jerusalem but have not formally said it is that of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder who was reported kidnapped from the Arab eastern sector of the city before dawn.
However, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch confirmed there was a link between the missing youth and the body found in a forest in west Jerusalem, the Walla news website reported.
In a conversation with Aharonovitch, Netanyahu asked that the investigating authorities “work as quickly as possible to find out who was being the heinous murder of the youth and what is the background to the incident.”
Netanyahu also “called on all sides not to take the law into their own hands” as fears grew that the killing was an act of revenge for the murder by Palestinian militants of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were found on Monday.