Press Release: APN Mourns Palestinian Teen Murdered in Jerusalem; Warns Against Further Escalation

Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns with the Palestinian people the death of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old Palestinian kidnapped and brutally murdered last week in Jerusalem.  APN (once again) condemns the kidnapping and the killing, and sends its condolences to the Abu Khdeir family. APN calls on the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and all Palestinian factions, to prevent further escalation and further loss of innocent lives.

APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said:

Two weeks ago, we mourned three Israeli youths, killed in the West Bank by Palestinians who, by their actions, made clear that they are enemies of peace and coexistence.   Today, we mourn the death of yet another innocent youth, this time a Palestinian targeted and brutally murdered in Jerusalem, by Israeli Jews, for the crime of being Palestinian.  Once again, the perpetrators of this terrible crime are the enemies of what we all want: Peace between Israel and its neighbors.

As we did last week, when we mourned the murder of Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel we now bow our heads and stand with Palestinians and Israelis. We take a measure of solace in the fact that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians are united in outrage in the face of this heinous act of terrorism. And once again, so are we. We welcome the arrest of the suspected perpetrators of the crime and join both Israelis and Palestinians in calling for accountability, involving a full and transparent investigation, including into those guilty of inciting the murderers to act – and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.   We look forward to news that the suspected perpetrators of the murder of the three yeshiva students have also been apprehended, and urge the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to work together in close coordination and cooperation to achieve this.

This latest murder is an escalation of a national crisis – an escalation that we feared would occur and that was fueled by voices in Israel, including from within the government, calling for revenge in the wake of the deaths of the three Israeli youths.  These calls came in the context of the burgeoning climate of ultra-nationalism, racism, intolerance, and anti-Arab hatred inside Israel and the West Bank, most clearly evidenced by the growing number of “price tag” attacks on both sides of the Green Line.  Those calling for revenge following the deaths of the three yeshiva students bear responsibility for the violence that followed and continues to rage inside Israel today.

The violence sweeping across Israel in the wake of this murder can either be a wake-up call to stop the mutually-destructive spiral of anger and hate, or it can be a preview of a terrible, bloody future in store for Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians alike.  We call on everyone involved – Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs inside Israel, as well as in the West Bank and Gaza – to act with wisdom and responsibility to prevent further escalation.   We call especially on Israeli, Israeli-Arab, and Palestinian leaders to step up and act like leaders.  In this volatile environment, this means speaking out for calm, refraining from statements that incite further anger, and unequivocally rejecting such incitement by those around them.

Finally, we want to make clear: Continuing the status quo of Israeli occupation only deepens Palestinian and Arab resentment, while feeding Israeli demonization of the Palestinians. The implementation of a two-state solution will mean a reduction in friction and, over time, a decline in enmity. Without peace, we can expect violence to continue, feeding anger and incitement on both sides, and increasing anti-Israel sentiment far beyond Israel's neighborhood.  A two-state solution remains the only path forward to provide security, stability, and dignity to both Israelis and Palestinians – and the only real way to cease the cycle of anger and grievance on which violence, hatred, and extremist ideologies feed.