Photo: Reuters
Mohammed Abu Khdeir
Photo: Reuters

Abu Khdeir family urges no violence on 1 year anniversary of son's murder

Slain Arab teen's father says police to blame for murder, deteriorating security situation in East Jerusalem: 'The kidnappers were operating in the area a few days before, and police didn't take this seriously'.

Thursday marks one year since Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and murdered by Jewish extremists, raising concerns in Israel the anniversary will be marked with violent clashes in Jerusalem.



The murder, an act of revenge, happened soon after the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli yeshiva students - Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer - who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists. Three Jews were charged with Abu Khdeir's murder: Yosef Ben-David and two minors.


Protests in Ramallah on the one year anniversary of Aby Khdeir's murder (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Protests in Ramallah on the one year anniversary of Aby Khdeir's murder (Photo: Reuters)


The brutal murder, in which Abu Khdeir was burned alive, led to rioting in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs.


The Arab teen's father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, told Ynet that he was against any violent actions to mark the anniversary. "We will have a ceremony in Mohammed's memory in Shuafat today. I'm not interested in clashes and don't believe there will be any. I told people I didn't want trouble, just a dignified ceremony with dignified people."


Christian and Muslim leaders are expected to attend the ceremony, including Jerusalem's Grand Mufti Muhammad Hussein and the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, Adnan al-Husayni.


Abu Khdeir's parents mourn at his grave (Photo: AFP)
Abu Khdeir's parents mourn at his grave (Photo: AFP)


The Palestinian Authority has gone out of its way to turn the anniversary into a national and international event. On Wednesday, Abu Khdeir's parents met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Mukataa in Ramallah. During the meeting, Abbas awarded them with the "Medal of Jerusalem" - one of the Palestinian Authority's official awards. On Sunday, a new square will be inaugurated in Ramallah named after Mohammed Abu Khdeir.


According to the indictment, on the night of the murder the three accused got Abu Khdeir into their car, took him to the Jerusalem forest, and burned him to death.


Hussein Abu Khdeir said Thursday that the past year has been hell for him and his family. "Mohammed was burned once. Me and his mother are burning every day. They don't even burn animals, so how could people burn someone? They have no heart and no conscience," he said.

Yosef Ben-David, accused of Abu Khdeir's murder (Photo: Ofer Meir)
Yosef Ben-David, accused of Abu Khdeir's murder (Photo: Ofer Meir)


Hussein believes the murder of his son was a turning point that changed East Jerusalem. "Before the murder, Shuafat was the most peaceful place in East Jerusalem but since the murder, this entire fabric of life has been destroyed," he said.


Over the past year, there has been a significant rise in stone-throwing incidents in the neighborhood, mostly at the light rail, which crosses the main street in Shuafat.


"I place the responsibility to what happened here over the past year on the police. This cell (the three accused in his son's murder) has been operating for a few days before that in the area and they tried to kidnap another child unsuccessfully. The police didn't take this seriously and didn't act. Had the police caught them on time - the entire mess of the murder and what came later would not have happened."


Hussein is the owner of an electricity shop in Shuafat and has always had Jewish customers. He said the same customers continue coming to his store, but cannot comfort him. "They come to the store, look at me and tell me they have no words to express how they feel."


פרסום ראשון: 07.02.15, 15:56
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