Israel Charges Police Officer with Beating Palestinian American

September 11, 2014  

Israel’s justice ministry has charged a border policeman with assaulting and injuring a 15-year-old Palestinian-American dual national in July, according to the indictment seen by AFP Thursday.

The policeman, whose name remains under a gag order, was indicted at Jerusalem magistrate’s court on Wednesday for using “excessive force” that could not be justified against Tariq Abu Khder at a July 3 demonstration in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. 

According to a justice ministry statement, “evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes, committed after the arrest of the minor, who was handcuffed at the time.” 

Tariq Abu Khder, who was arrested first for attacking a police officer during Jerusalem’s riots in early July, has denied taking part in the demonstration at all, saying he was “only an observer” but fled when police “began chasing suspects,” as well as claiming that he “fell and was cuffed and beaten.” 

A YouTube video showing Israeli border police beating and kicking a handcuffed semi-conscious figure on the ground before dragging him away sparked a US State Department call for a “speedy, transparent and credible investigation.” 

An uncle of Tariq, who has since returned home to Florida, called the indictment a “cover up” of the beating and an Israeli attempt to appease the United States.

“If Tariq wasn’t an American citizen we would have never seen an investigation,” Yassin Abu Khder told AFP, noting that his nephew was attacked by a “group” of policemen who had also “attacked dozens of other kids.”

“But we won’t see any further indictment because those kids are not American citizens,” he added.

Rioting throughout Jerusalem erupted in July after rumors circulated that the murder of Tariq’s cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu-Khder, was an act of Jewish “revenge” over the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha’ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19). 

The rioting in Shuafat and other Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem resulted, among other things, in the utter destruction of at least two light rail stations in Shuafat and Beit Hanina, after enraged Arabs threw Molotov cocktails at and sprayed graffiti on the train stops. 

Six hundred Israeli Arabs were later arrested in a short period during that time; 130 police officers were injured. Since then, terror has risen in Jerusalem by 509%.

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