Israel holds US boy without charge after police nearly beat him to death

Fifteen-year-old Tariq Abukhdeir after Israeli police beat him.


Update, 5 July: US says little recourse

Fifteen-year-old Palestinian-American Tariq Abukhdeir, cousin of recent lynching victim Muhammed Abu Khudair, was brutally beaten by masked Israeli police on Thursday evening in the Shuafat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. He has since been arrested and held without charge and denied medical treatment, according to his family and human rights organizations.

The United States Consulate in Jerusalem has informed Tariq Abukhdeir’s family that they have little recourse beyond following Israeli legal procedures, Suhad Abukhdeir told The Electronic Intifada over the phone from Tampa, Florida.

Suhad is Tariq’s aunt and has been receiving updates from Tariq’s parents every few hours.

The electricity in Shuafat is cutting in and out so The Electronic Intifada was not able to speak with Tariq’s parents directly.

Suhad said that Tariq’s father, Salahedeen, spoke to a consular official on Saturday over the phone instead of in person because it is too dangerous to go outside in Shuafat due to a heavy and violent Israeli police and settler presence in the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood.

“When I talked directly to [Tariq’s] mother she said the consulate told them we have to follow the legal procedures here [in Israel]. But there are no legal procedures for Palestinians. Palestinians aren’t considered human,” Suhad said.

The United States Consulate in Jerusalem has yet to respond to a request for comment. Meanwhile the US State Department confirmed to The Electronic Intifada that Tariq is indeed an American citizen and that he was visited by a US consular official on Saturday.

Original post

Fifteen-year-old Palestinian-American Tariq Abukhdeir, cousin of recent lynching victim Muhammed Abu Khudair, was brutally beaten by masked Israeli police on Thursday evening in the Shuafat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. He has since been arrested and held without charge and denied medical treatment, according to his family and the rights group Addameer.

Tariq’s family lives in Tampa, Florida and have been on vacation in Palestine since early June. They are scheduled to return to the United States on 16 July. Tariq’s next court hearing is scheduled for Sunday, 6 July.

As photos of Tariq’s horrific facial bruises surfaced, so did two videos that show masked Israeli officers punching, kicking and dragging a handcuffed Palestinian in Shuafat:

Salahedeen Khdeir, Tariq’s father, told The Electronic Intifada by phone from Shuafat that the Palestinian in the video is his son Tariq and that the footage was recorded by neighbors who then released it to a Palestinian media outlet.

Salahedeen says Tariq was visiting his uncle’s house in an area devoid of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians when he and five other youths were attacked in the yard by two masked Israeli police agents.

Tariq was roughed up the worst, beaten so badly that he lost consciousness. But that didn’t stop the Israeli forces from arresting Tariq and the others without charge and preventing Tariq from receiving medical treatment for five hours.

“Tariq was arrested at 7:35pm but wasn’t transferred to the hospital until around 1:30am,” said Salahedeen. During those five hours his parents were prevented from seeing him as well.

At the police station, Salahedeen came face to face with his son’s attackers, who called Tariq “a tough boy” and claimed he tried to attack them.

Kangaroo court

Tariq’s parents did not see him again until Friday in an Israeli court where the judge extended his imprisonment another 48 hours as requested by the Israeli police, who argued they still needed to question him.

The officers told the judge that Tariq and his cousins were throwing stones, an accusation Tariq and his family vehemently deny. When asked if they had any witnesses to the alleged stone-throwing, the officers said no, Salahedeen recounted.

When Salahedeen showed the video of Tariq’s beating to the judge, he said, she was appalled and asked the officers why they beat a boy who was handcuffed. She also asked why Palestinian youths arrested for throwing stones appear in court with bruises while Israeli Jewish youths arrested for throwing stones appear unharmed.

The officers responded, “When we tell the Jewish kids to stop throwing stones, they stop and let us lock them up. But the Palestinians kids want to fight,” recounted Salahedeen.

“Tariq is scared,” said his father, adding that his son speaks very little Arabic and no Hebrew, making an already nightmarish ordeal even more terrifying for the 15-year-old.

Salahedeen begged the judge to let him stay with Tariq in jail so he so he could check his son’s urine for blood each time he uses the bathroom, as advised by the doctor who treated the boy. This has led his family to fear that he may have internal bleeding. The judge denied Salahedeen’s request, promising that she would personally notify the jail to look after Tariq.

“No protection for Palestinians”

When asked if he expects any accountability or justice for the treatment of his son, Salahedeen said, “No way, this is Israel. There is no protection for Palestinians from the police or soldiers or army.”

Referring to 16-year-old lynching victim Muhammad Abu Khudair, Salahedeen added, “My cousin was kidnapped from outside and got killed after 45 minutes and we gave the police pictures of the kidnappers, the car tags, exactly when and where he was taken and still the police say maybe this is a family problem.”

“He’s a good boy, he’s good in school, he loves soccer, loves music,” Salahedeen said of his son. “This is the first time he went to sleep far away from his home. And where does he end up? In a jail next to the people who hit him almost to death.”

Asked whether the State Department is aware that an American child is being held without charge by Israel, a State Department official responded, “We are aware of these reports but have no comment due to privacy considerations.”

Salahedeen says he has an appointment on Saturday with the US consulate, which had not yet responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

The Palestinian prisoner rights organization Addameer reports that Tariq is one of eleven Palestinians who were beaten and arrested in Shuafat on Thursday, many of whom were minors.

“The continued state-sanctioned violence against children is unlawful and unacceptable,” Addameer stated in an appeal for protests against Tariq’s treatment.

“Addameer urges immediate action and calls on the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States consulate and all regional embassies and consulates, human rights organizations and journalists to attend Tarek Abu Khdeir’s hearing on Sunday 6 July to investigate the intensified aggression against Palestinian children,” the group added.

US family pray

Back in Tampa, Tariq’s family is praying for him.

“My whole family is in shock,” 22-year-old Ala Kader, Tariq’s cousin, told The Electronic Intifada over the phone from Tampa. Ala grew up with Tariq, who she says is like a little brother to her.

As a Palestinian, Ala is used to seeing horrifying images out of the region whenever the conflict heats up.

“But to see it happen to your own family members in your hometown from thousands of miles away is devastating,” she said.

“It makes your heart go crazy.”

Photo of Tariq provided by the Abukhdeir family

Photo of Tariq provided by the Abukhdeir family




I have twittered this story to many major news outlets in U.S. No response from CNN, Boston Globe, Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times, BBC, Buzzfeed did carry the story but didn't list the teen as American Everyone needs to get on Twitter so this won't be ignored I just want to understand the double standard because if This teen was Jewish and had been beaten by Palestinian Authority we all have ideas of what Israel would have done.


On Yahoo there was a lead-in to this story, but I followed the link and the story was about the boy who was kidnapped and killed. Half way down was a few paragraphs on this beating.

It seems pro-Israel news considers this beating of an American more dangerous to their agenda than the murder.


So funny... American folks outraged after one of their citizens was beaten by the foreign police. What about your own police? The most brutal police in the world? Think about this kid next time you vote for a sadistic sheriff.


This crime will stay unpunished like all Israeli crimes...Israeli gov to calm down the media buzz would set up "inquiry commission" but we all know that nothing will happen and nobody will be punished.


An American citizen hit the nail on the head in comment posting earlier. They are not the "chosen" people, the problem here is the "chosen" people according to Abrahamic religion are those of semetic descent stemming from Arbraham, those jews and arabians stemming from thay group can only claim such a tittle in accordance with the Abrahamic religious texts. The problem with Israel is that there population claim to be of semetic bloodline. Unfortunately any of the Jews that cannot be traced back to the house of Abraham or more loosley modern day southern Iraq are not the semetic Jews from the house of Abraham. They are wearing the jacket like it is fashion and stealing the identity of the real Semitic Jews. That is not to say there are no bad Semitic Jews there are some very good Jewish people whom oppose this evil both Semetic and not. The not I believe can be identified as Ahkahnizi Jews excuse my incorrect spelling. In short the vast population; overwhelming majority of Israelis converted to Judaism over the centuries and do not stem from Abraham and cannot claim to be chosen without lying to themselves and us. Its dangerous to speak but its evil what they are doing to the Palestinians and who knows there true agenda in the future.


My comments are being censored -- including comments that do not violate anything from your comment policy. In the end, this is what I expected -- you do not want your readers seeing any viewpoint that is different than your own. It's a pity you do not welcome healthy debate.


I've been reading your comments. You have no facts, nothing but unfounded accusation. That should not be tolerated on any reputable site. Even your posts that slipped in should be removed.

I can even imagine what comments were not allowed, if your previous posts are an example.


When will American citizens wake up? I have nothing against the jewish people, but the state of Israël is acting wrong. They are not respecting the UN demand to stop extending the colonies. They do shoot and kill women and children with no mercy. Terrorise families. Drop bombs over civilian in Gaza. They don't even let food pass, even when it is provided by safe humanitarian organizations. You americans support that? Your country is sending weapons and billions to Israël. Here is the truth. Israël does not care about USA, they are just taking taking davantage of its money, it's power and influence. Palestinian are asking for a décent state. They were chased from their land decades ago. And now Israël wants to have it all. Look how palestians live in Gaza! Is this ok for you? Not for me. Zionist are a danger for the world. They are to put in the same hat as Hamas. It's another kind of terrorism but it is. America wake up. Palestinians have been suffering too much now. They have the right to own they own state. Not occupied territoires. They have the right to fight for that. Real jews are not supporting criminal actions from Natanyahu, the Mossad and the police. Stones against heavy weapons? No. That is wrong. Israël does not want a Palestinian state along its borders. There will never be Peace. Peace goes along with justice.


Until those in the Middle East stop hating each other, this will never stop, I guarantee that. My suggestion - STAY OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!!!!!!!!! YOU'RE ASKING FOR TROUBLE THERE, NOT A BIG SURPRISE IS IT???


Rania, recently I saw some of your comments on Facebook and elsewhere. It is encouraging to see such talent and compassion coming from youg people such as yourself. Recently, I saw you being interviewed by Abby Martin. You made excellent points, but I would suggest you speak just a little slower. Maybe you were a little nervous, I would be. Abby speaks very quickly too. But you both have a lot to say. Thanks.


Rania Khalek

Rania Khalek's picture

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.