American Teenager Sentenced to House Arrest After Alleged Beating by Israeli Police

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 6 2014 4:03 PM

American Teenager Sentenced to House Arrest After Alleged Beating by Israeli Police

Tariq Khdeir is greeted by his mother after being released from jail in Jerusalem

Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

A 15-year-old American high school student from Tampa who was allegedly assaulted by Israeli police was released Sunday after being held without charges since Thursday. Tariq Abu Khdeir, whose cousin was abducted and brutally murdered last week, had a badly swollen face on Sunday when he talked to journalists outside the courtroom and said he was the victim of an unprovoked beating. His release came after a video aired on Palestinian television that appears to show plain-clothes Israeli security officers beating him up. “They repeatedly stomp and punch his head, even as the body hangs motionless,” notes ABC News. An Israeli court sentenced him to nine days of house arrest for attacking police officers.

The State Department is calling for explanations: “We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, according to the Hill. “We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.”


The high school sophomore says he was watching the protesters when he was attacked. “I was actually brutally attacked from the side. I heard somebody screaming and he came and attacked me and I actually went unconscious, and I woke up in the hospital," he told ABC News. "I was screaming, I was just screaming when they hit me." He can travel back to the United States if the investigation ends without charges. But his mother told CNN the family will “definitely” sue Israeli authorities.

Israel’s ambassador to the United States hinted there’s more to the story than meets the eye. He “was not an innocent bystander pulled out of the school yard,” Ron Dermer told Fox News. "He was with six other people. They were masked. They threw petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails at our police. Three of them had knives, from what I understand.” Still, that “doesn’t excuse the use of excessive force,” he added.

Meanwhile, six Jewish suspects who apparently had “nationalistic” motives have been arrested for the brutal killing of Khdeir’s cousin in East Jerusalem last week. The Israeli government had largely stayed silent on the case but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “horrific crime” on Sunday, saying the perpetrators would “face the full weight of the law,” reports the New York Times. The suspects are young males, including several minors, an official tells the Associated Press.

The abduction and killing of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir on Wednesday sparked protests and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem and northern Israel and there are fears it could lead to a new intifada, or uprising. The arrests come after days of Palestinian complaints that Israeli authorities were not moving quickly enough to solve the grisly slaying, and anger was fueled yesterday by a preliminary autopsy report that suggests Khdeir had been burned alive.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Watch Little Girls Swear for Feminism

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
Oct. 23 2014 11:51 AM It Seems No One Is Rich or Happy: I Looked
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.