TEL AVIV – A comparison of U.S. statements in recent days regarding violence in the Mideast reveals the State Department painting a quick picture of sympathy for Palestinian youths, while not offering Israeli youths the same consideration.
As WND first reported, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement condemning the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers last month originally omitted the fact that one of those abducted was an American citizen, a fact that would have likely garnered increased attention in the U.S.
“The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release,” read Kerry’s official statement, put out three days after the kidnapping. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”
According to news media reports, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv was immediately briefed one of the three teens was Naftali Frenkel, 16, a dual Israeli-American citizen whose parents live in the central Israeli town of Nof Ayalon.
Last week, after the bodies of the three were found following an 18-day search, Kerry released another statement finally mentioning that Frenkel was an American.
“The news that Naftali Frenkel is also an American citizen makes this blow not only hard for Israel but also for the United States,” he said.
The State Department had faced some criticism in Israel for not mentioning Frenkel’s American nationality sooner.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the State Department rebuked Israel amid reports Jerusalem police beat teenage protester Tariq Khdeir, a Palestinian-American cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old killed by suspected Jewish extremists in a revenge attack.
In contrast to original statements about the three Israeli teenagers – which omitted Frenkel’s American nationality – State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki immediately singled out Tariq Khdeir as “an American citizen.”
“We can confirm that Tariq Khdeir, an American citizen, is being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem,” Psaki said. “We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force. We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.”
Khdeir was injured last Thursday while clashing with Jerusalem police during violent protests over his cousin’s murder. A video circulating on the Internet purports to show Jerusalem police punching Khdeir, although the authenticity of the footage cannot immediately be verified since the person being arrested is seen wearing a mask
Unmentioned by Psaki and lost in much of the news media coverage is that police here say Khdeir was arrested after throwing Molotov cocktails and that he resisted arrest.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Khdeir was caught with rocks and a slingshot and that others arrested with him were carrying knives.
Meanwhile, Kerry’s condemnation of the murder of Khdeir’s cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was unusually emotional.
Last Wednesday, while details of the murder were still sketchy, Kerry stated, “There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people.”
His statement further condemned “in the strongest possible terms the despicable and senseless abduction and murder of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. It is sickening to think of an innocent 17-year-old boy snatched off the streets and his life stolen from him and his family.”
In the case of the murder of Khdeir, Kerry’s “no words” phraseology was directed at condolences to the Palestinian people. He used the “no words” rhetoric last week about the murder of the three Israeli teens, except in that case the words were directed at “every person of conscience.”
He stated, “As a father, there are no words to describe the shocking loss every person of conscience feels. This was a despicable act of terrorism. We mourn together with the citizens of Israel.”