Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli police broke out Wednesday morning when news broke of a suspected kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina hours earlier. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in the clashes in East Jerusalem on Wednesday, with Ma’an reporting that 17 required hospitalization. Five police officers were reportedly wounded, and at least four journalists were shot with sponge-tipped bullets by police. Among those shot were two journalists from Palestine TV and two Activestills photographers. Activestills photojournalist Tali Mayer, who also works for Walla! News, was shot by police in the face and will have to undergo surgery.
Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir was walking to morning prayers for Ramadan after 3 a.m. Wednesday morning when a car pulled up and a number of passengers forced him in. Police later found his burned body in a Jerusalem-area forest. A gag order covered other details of the investigation. The family reportedly agreed to an autopsy and the funeral was scheduled for Thursday. On Tuesday hundreds of extreme-right Jewish Israelis, many of them teenagers, marched through the streets of West and East Jerusalem for hours Tuesday night chanting “death to Arabs” and physically assaulting at least five Palestinians along the way. Police also reportedly prevented attacks against a number of Palestinians. Police arrested 48.
According to MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), “a wave of hatred is washing over the land. People are taking advantage of the atmosphere following the murder of the boys to incite against Arabs.” Khenin wrote on Facebook that political leaders should have spoken out against violence before it happened. “This is a test of our leaders’ ability to prevent us falling into the abyss and stopping those who want to push us there,” he added. MK Khenin lamented that the Israeli leadership had not put out a clear message against violence in the wake of the murders of the Israeli teens.