In what Palestinians are claiming to be an act of revenge for the three slain Israeli youth, the body of a Palestinian youth was found in a Jerusalem forest on Wednesday. As the tensions escalate, Israeli leaders call for restraint until the facts become clearer.
16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, from the Beit Hanina neighborhood in East Jerusalem, was allegedly kidnapped Tuesday night.
The Israeli minister of internal security, Yitzhak Aharonovich, urged residents to “lower the volume” regarding the suspicion of a revenge attack by Jews according the New York Times. “There are attempts to make a connection between the two incidents and we are still checking all directions,” he said on Israel Radio. “There are many possibilities, criminal and nationalistic, and everything is being examined in a responsible manner.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement, urged police to "to swiftly investigate who was behind the loathsome murder and its motive." He called on all sides "not to take the law into their own hands."
"The Israeli government bears responsibility for Jewish terrorism and for the kidnapping and murder in occupied Jerusalem," the Fatah official, Dmitry Diliani, told Reuters.
Israeli police increased their presence in Jerusalem as news of killing spread. Clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces along the main road that links the neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Shuafat. Dozens of teenagers hurled stones at the security officers, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of one of the three slain Israeli teenagers, told Ynet “there is no difference between blood and blood.”
“Murder is murder,” Mr. Fraenkel was quoted as saying. “Whatever the nationality or age are, there is no justification, no forgiveness or penance for any murder.”
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) released a statement condemning the murder and calling for an end to violence.
"This heart-wrenching violence against children must come to an end," said JCPA President Rabbi Steve. "The circumstances of his death remain uncertain, but it appears that Mohammed was not a party to nor instigator of the tragic events of recent days and weeks. But he now has paid the ultimate price regardless. It saddens me greatly that, in just a few days, yet another child has had his future taken away, and yet another family sent into mourning. With heavy hearts, we mourn for Mohammed along with his family."
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also released a statement condemning the murder as a "possible revenge killing of an Arab teen."
"While we await the police investigation into the apparent abduction and possible murder of an Arab teen, we cannot wait to speak out against incendiary calls for violence and revenge by some Israelis," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"We all feel outrage and heartbreak over the murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach. Yet there is no justification for vigilante violence and acts of revenge targeting Arabs. Any loss of life — be it Israeli or Arab — is a tragedy. Vengeance is not a part of Judaism or Jewish tradition."