Kerry, Netanyahu discuss investigation of Palestinian teen’s death

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an update on the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teen.

U.S. officials in Israel also remain in close contact with the investigation, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.

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Psaki would not speculate on whether the murder, which occurred in the hours after three kidnapped Israeli teens were buried, was a revenge killing, saying “that’s the reason why there is an investigation” and stressing “the need to refrain from violence.”

“Clearly, our hearts go out to the families of those who have suffered with recent events, including the deaths of the three teenagers. But we’re going to let the investigation play itself out, and certainly, we would condemn in the strongest terms these despicable acts of violence,” Psaki said.

Both the State Department and the White House have condemned the murders of the Palestinian and the three Israelis.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday also condemned the murder of the Palestinian teen, extending its “condolences and sympathies to the family of the victim of this heinous act and to the Palestinian people.” It also called for “immediate calm” on both sides.

The U.N. commissioner of human rights, Navi Pillay, condemned the violence taking place on Israel’s border with Gaza on Thursday following increased cross-border attacks.

“From a human rights point of view, I utterly condemn these rocket attacks and more especially I condemn Israel’s excessive acts of retaliation,” Pillay said in Vienna.

She also condemned the murder of the Palestinian teen.