Riots break out in eastern Jerusalem following discovery of Palestinian teen’s body

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The body of a Palestinian teenager was found in the Jerusalem Forest hours after he was reported kidnapped from Beit Hanina in eastern Jerusalem.

Palestinian riots broke out in Beit Hanina and other areas of eastern Jerusalem after the announcement of the discovery of the body on Wednesday morning. Rioters believe that the teen’s murder is a revenge killing by extremist Jewish Israelis for the murder of three kidnapped teens who were buried on Tuesday evening.

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A Palestinian teen was seen by residents of eastern Jerusalem being forced into a car in the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to reports. The body discovered in the forest is believed to be the same teen. There was an attempted kidnapping last week of another member of the teen’s family, believed to be part of a feud with another Palestinian family.

Police are investigating, including examining the body, to try to determine whether the killing was nationalistic or criminal. The body is charred and shows signs of violence, Ynet reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Wednesday morning with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and asked that Israeli law enforcement work as quickly as possible to find the murderer and determine his motive. He also called on both sides to not take the law into their own hands.

Jerusalem Mayor Nuir Barkat condemned the murder, calling it “a horrible and barbaric act.”

“This is not our way and I am fully confident that our security forces will bring the perpetrators to justice. I call on everyone to exercise restraint,” Barkat said in a statement.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Netanyahu to condemn the killing, as he had condemned the kidnap and killing of the three Israeli teens, according to the official Palestinian Wafa news agency.

“Israel bears full responsibility for this incident. The Israeli police and security forces must bring those responsible to justice. The Palestinian leadership will continue its discussions following this escalation, including joining international organizations,” read a statement issued from Abbas’ office.

A statement issued by the family of Naftali Fraenkel, one of the kidnapped Israeli teens, who were buried on Monday, condemned the murder, which Palestinians believe is in retaliation for the death of the teens. “There is no difference between blood and blood, murder is murder,” the statement said.

Israeli mobs had protested in Jerusalem Tuesday night after the teens’ funerals, calling for revenge for their murders.