News / Middle East

Clashes Erupt in East Jerusalem After Palestinian Funeral

Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair during his funeral in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 4, 2014.
Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair during his funeral in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 4, 2014.
Robert Berger

Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians Friday, as thousands mourned a 16-year-old boy believed killed in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.  

The clashes erupted after Friday prayers as residents buried Mohammed Abu Khudair. Palestinians say his death was in response for the murder last month of the Jewish teenagers, which in turn has been blamed on the militant group Hamas.

The apparent tit-for-tat killings have stoked anger throughout the region, threatening to unleash a new cycle of violence and recrimination from both sides.

Khudair's body was discovered Wednesday in a Jerusalem forest about an hour after he was forced into a car. Israeli police are investigating whether it was indeed a revenge killing, possibly by Jewish militants.

“I unequivocally condemn the murder of a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem. We don't know yet the motives or the identities of the perpetrators, but we will,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We will bring to justice the criminals responsible for this despicable crime whoever they may be. Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism, they have no place in our democracy.”

Growing unrest

Israel police tosses a grenade towards Palestinians protesters on July 4, 2014.Israel police tosses a grenade towards Palestinians protesters on July 4, 2014.
Israel police tosses a grenade towards Palestinians protesters on July 4, 2014.
Israel police tosses a grenade towards Palestinians protesters on July 4, 2014.

The discovery of Khudair’s body prompted days of unrest in East Jerusalem and elsewhere. 

His funeral Friday, in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat, coincided with the first Friday prayer services of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Thousands jammed the neighborhood, many chanting slogans and waving flags of Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization and also the radical group Islamic Jihad.

Afterward protesters in other Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and outside the walled Old City burned tires, blocked roads and lobbed rocks at Israeli police, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas.

“It’s anger. This is the word I can say. It’s anger. Everyone has that feeling inside. Why? Why Mohammed?” Khudair’s cousin, Ansa, said at the funeral.

The Jewish teenagers’ June 12 abduction and killing sparked widespread outrage in Israeli society. At protests earlier, some Israelis could be heard chanting "Death to the Arabs."

Hamas has denied killing the Israeli teens, though some of its leaders have said such an action would be a justified response to what they view as Israeli injustices.

Military responses

The Israeli military has massed troops near Gaza and conducted airstrikes aimed at Hamas, which responded with rocket salvos into Israel. Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner said Thursday the reinforcement along the Gaza border was defensive.

Netanyahu warned, though, that the troops will "act forcefully" if Gaza militants do not stop launching rockets.


Israeli officials said four projectiles were launched Friday into southern Israel; one was intercepted, while two hit "open areas" near Sderot. No injuries were reported.

Israeli officials told local media that a cease-fire was being negotiated, but warned that any agreement was contingent on whether rocket barrage continues. Israeli officials say the troop reinforcement along the Gaza border is defensive.

Hamas spokeswoman Isra al-Modallal told VOA that Hamas leaders do not want the conflict to intensify.

“I think they don't want it this time; not because they aren't prepared, but because the situation is really difficult and they don't know if they had an aggression or exchanged fire against the Israelis if they would still be able to have a strong resistance here in Gaza, especially now that it's under a blockade, there are no tunnels, not anymore relations with Egypt," al-Modallal said.

Israeli officials said Thursday that four soldiers have been jailed after they posted pictures on social media calling for revenge attacks on Palestinians.

The violence has raised fears that a Palestinian intifada, or uprising, could result.

  • Palestinians look on as they stand in front of a poster depicting 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair during his funeral in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 4, 2014.
  • Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair during his funeral in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 4, 2014.
  • A masked Palestinian youth looks on from atop a pole during the funeral of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 4, 2014.
  • A masked Palestinian youth is hosed down with water to cool down from the afternoon heat at the funeral of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 4, 2014.

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Comment Sorting
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 04, 2014 7:20 PM
This is a continued circle of violence, cuz in at much the Palestinians are firing rockets into Israel, killing the Jews, Israel will response back with a great impact in Gaza that will destabilize the whole region. And the Palestinians don't want this to happen, cuz Israel will do whatever it takes to peace and stability to her people. And we support the actions of Israel. Enough is really enough.

by: Anthonybellchambers from: London
July 04, 2014 5:03 PM

Is Israel deliberately trying to force new intifada by increasing its illegal settlements in West Bank & Jerusalem in contempt of UN and world condemnation

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 04, 2014 1:56 PM
These are the things they do that makes Israel to look bad in the eyes of the world. And really this a cheap propaganda. Hamas has kidnapped this kid and killed him, then they are putting the blame of Israel, cuz they want to incite more violence in the region and against the Jews. After their prayer, more violence escalated. That kid was not murder by Israel, Israel has lot of Palestinians in prison, if they wanted to take revenge, they would have kill lot of them in prison. The Palestinians are the ones with that anger and hatred for the Jews. Those people are cowards, as soon fighting begin, they will be the ones crying on TV, the Jews are killing our people, the Jews, the Jews , please.

From Jerusalem post, VOA, Facebook and every media I can get my hands on, I wrote there will be no peace in the region. You are dealing with unwanted elements in society. Society doesn't need these kind of people.

Whatever that is going on, blame Hamas, Iran, and Hezbollah. They are the ones who are responsible for this. If they had kidnapped those Jewish teens, we were not going to see what we are seeing today. Even if they say Israel killed that kid, then one must ask, what brought about the killing of that kid?

Very simple, Hamas kidnapped those Jewish teens and killed them. My question to the Palestinians is, what give your the right to killed those Jewish kids and Israel cannot do the same? Treat people the way you want them to treat you. You cannot killed those Jewish teens and you think is ok, are the Jews blood are not important too? If you don't want Israel to killed you, don't kill them too. If the Palestinians stop the killing of the Jews, then peace will come to the land. Be bless Israel, we support you

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 04, 2014 12:13 PM
Question is how Palestinians have done this and want to use it to whip up sentiment against Israel. Unfortunately the world today is filled with people who reason from the wrong side of their brain. Otherwise the handwriting was on the wall before the case came up. Simply put, the Palestinian fundamentalist hardliners who will spare nothing to uphold the fable of islam, including murdering their own children, capitalized on the trouble on ground to liquidate an "unwanted" teenager who must have been bone in the neck for being what the muslim religion rejects. Imagine the man in Sudan disowning his own sister saying he would kill the lady for abandoning the region if the court freed her. Same applies here, and even worse, because they have refused to see Israel exist because their religion upholds the hatred and killing of Jews. So someone should read in between lines to understand the family of the teen boy must have done the killing using the most auspicious time provided by the barbaric killing of the Israeli trio. Calling it a revenge killing is just accepting to be both naive and foolish at the same time.

I do not understand what Israel delays about worrying about intifada, what is the ceasefire all about, has there been war going on? In real fact Israel is disappointing some Arab countries who do not welcome the existence of both Hamas and Hezbollah, as recent polls have proved. Even the West bank should be much relieved to have Hamas disarmed at this point in time. What if the accusation of killing the three teens sticks on Hamas, won't it be the right time to at least use whatever it takes to disarm and/or dislodge the militancy in the area? For when that is done, the Palestinians will find a reason to be one front under Abbas to seek for peace with Israel, not when the Hamas impostors are there giving false hope of the "Resistance / Liberation" to the people. No, that negotiation of ceasefire is a postponement of the evil day. The disarming of Hamas is either now or never.

by: godmanneo from: The Spirit
July 04, 2014 11:25 AM
The living God. The father of Abraham, Issac, Jacob. The God of Israel. His hand is against all those who are against Israel. God help them
In Response

by: arlo_sleepyhead from: SW Florida
July 05, 2014 12:08 AM
sovereign, who is doing the ethnic cleansing? The Palestinians constantly claim there will be no peace until the Jews are driven into the sea. Arabs in Israel are allowed to vote and have more human rights than in any other Arab country. They even serve in the Knesset!
In Response

by: sovereign
July 04, 2014 4:56 PM
God help those who use religion to justify the ethnic cleansing of a people. Do you also believe those that curse their mother or father or disobedient children should be put to death?

by: Josh from: usa
July 04, 2014 9:53 AM
I think the world could do with out a terrorist run regime that hides behind innocent women and children
In Response

by: Deborah Zaki from: USA
July 04, 2014 11:20 AM
This regime is not hiding behind women and children. These are families who are having their land and homes stolen by a racist apartheid government. The Israelis use lobbies and media to brain wash the USA into believing their apartheid propaganda. The USA politicians are for sale to foreign governments and foreign lobbies; thus THREE BILLION USA tax dollars goes to the racist state of Israel yearly!

by: Ranger Dan Parsons from: USA
July 04, 2014 9:52 AM
This conflict has become little more than a ceaseless series of revenge killings, not much more than a large scale "Hatfield & McCoy" war. I thought it couldn't get any worse, but now they are murdering each other's children. God is watching this.

by: Misty Martin from: Florida
July 04, 2014 9:29 AM
Why is the USA involved with any of them? Why are we financing the spread of Israel?
In Response

by: godmanneo from: usa
July 04, 2014 11:28 AM
You do not know what you are saying. Israel funds Israel. The USA funds muslim extreme.

by: senseof fairness from: manchester
July 04, 2014 9:28 AM
Israelis hold peace rallies for murder of three. Palestinian murder of one - which might be an inter-family dispute as the young man is gay - they don't wait to riot.
In Response

by: Deborah Zaki from: USA
July 04, 2014 11:25 AM
Your comment about the reason for kidnapping a teenager is sick. Are you also saying the three Israeli teens that were also kidnapped and murdered was because the Israeli teens were gay also? Who cares if someone is gay? They should not be kidnapped and executed by extremists and if they are not your accusations are shameful.
In Response

by: sense of logic from: London
July 04, 2014 11:03 AM
Then why don't you apply the same hypothesis of yours to what happened to the three israeli boys. It is a sad thing what happened on both sides, but please don't a double standard person.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 04, 2014 8:44 AM
A WISE MAN would ask, Why does Israel keep building those walls around their cities and towns, if they fear attacks from missiles, rockets, and warplanes, and what are the walls going to protect them from?..... a Palestinian?
In Response

by: arlo_sleepyhead from: SW Florida
July 05, 2014 12:01 AM
godmanneo, why would the Israeli's want to fulfill Revelations?
In Response

by: ShuMot from: Brooklyn, USA
July 04, 2014 11:45 AM
Same reason China build the Great Wall, to protect itself from insurgency. Not all terrorist have rockets most of them have guns and knifes.
In Response

by: godmanneo from: usa
July 04, 2014 11:31 AM
The walls are being built so that scripture can be fullfilled. Read about the walls comming down in revelation
In Response

by: Fred from: USA
July 04, 2014 10:49 AM
Yes, a 'palestinian' SUICIDE BOMBER. They used to walk right into cafes, malls, buses, weddings, but not after the walls were built.

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