(photo credit: REUTERS)
Amid the escalating tension in Jerusalem following the murder of 17-year-old Mohammad Abu Kheider, condemnations for the killing were heard from around the world.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who spoke with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about the developments on Wednesday, quickly issued a statement saying Washington “condemns in the strongest possible terms the despicable and senseless abduction and murder” of 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. There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people.”
Kerry said those “who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation. We look to both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of violence and bring their perpetrators to justice. The world has too often learned the hard way that violence only leads to more violence and at this tense and dangerous moment, all parties must do everything in their power to protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution.”
Earlier Netanyahu issued a statement
calling on all sides “not to take the law into their hands,” adding that “Israel is a nation of laws and everyone must act according to the law.”
Netanyahu, in a conversation with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, directed him to “work as quickly as possible in order to investigate who is behind the reprehensible murder and what the motive was.”
In his statement, Kerry noted that Netanyahu was “emphatic” in calling on people not to take the law into their own hands.
In Britain, both Premier David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague said they were appalled by the murder.
Cameron tweeted that "the loss of four boys this week is a terrible reminder of the need for last peace".
Meanwhile Hague condemned the 'appalling murder' of what he termed "a Palestinian teenager from Occupied East Jerusalem".
He added that it was vital that the people responsible for the crime were held accountable.
Quartet envoy Tony Blair issued a statement saying there “is no possible justification for such an horrendous act - and the perpetrators must be found swiftly and brought to justice. Extremists must not be allowed to exploit the events of the last weeks to spark a further escalation in violence.”
Blair said he was “very worried by the unrest in Jerusalem and the West Bank, including assaults on Palestinians, 'price tag' attacks and settler violence that cannot be tolerated. The recent tragic loss of lives on both sides of this conflict reminds us of what is at stake. The fanatics must be sidelined, and the Israeli and Palestinian leaders must continue their pursuit for a negotiated settlement that will bring about peace and security for their citizens."
The UN's Mideast envoy, Robert Serry, issued a statement strongly condemning “the reported murder of a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem. I recall the Secretary-General’s message: there can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians – any civilians.”
Referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' call for Netanyahu to condemn the murder of Kheider, just as he condemned the kidnappings of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, one government official said that there was as yet no proof as to who committed the crime.
“We have to be professional here,” the official said. “The Prime Minister called it a reprehensible crime, and is waiting for the police investigation.”