BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As violence escalated between Palestinians and Israelis, an American teenager born in Baltimore found himself caught up in the escalating tensions and beaten by Israeli police—and it was all caught on camera.
Derek Valcourt spoke with the young man’s Baltimore family members about the attack that’s sparking international outrage.
The boy’s family is demanding the US government get involved in the case and push for his immediate release after an attack they say has pushed an already grieving family over the edge.
Days after enduring the beating captured in a cell phone video, 15-year-old Tariq Abu-Khdeir remained bruised and swollen in home detention with relatives in Israel, half a world away from worried family members here.
“He was born in Johns Hopkins. He grew up in Greektown,” said cousin Hakeim Abu-Khdeir.
Tariq’s cousins, aunts and uncles still live in Baltimore. They’re horrified by the video showing Israeli officers repeatedly kicking and punching the boy—who was reportedly already bound.
“That’s basically my little brother, so when I see something like that happen to my little brother, I am sick,” Hakeim Abu-Khdeir said.
Family members held a press conference in Washington Tuesday denouncing Tariq’s treatment. They say the teen was part of a massive protest after the funeral for his 16-year-old murdered Palestinian cousin Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, who was kidnapped and set on fire in what is widely being viewed as a retaliation for the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.
“And Tariq is basically one of the last people to see Mohammed alive and then he’s viciously beaten and our family’s in mourning and then this happens,” said cousin Zakia Abu-Khdeir.
Tariq and his family have denied Israeli police accusations that he was throwing rocks during the protest. They know anger over Tariq’s beating adds to tension in the Middle East and say it’s time for the US to act.
“We want the United States to stand up for a true peace for both sides because peace for one side doesn’t work. It’s not fair,” said aunt Faima Abu-Khdeir.
Family members say they also want the US to push Israel to hold the officers who beat Tariq accountable and to push for justice in the case of the six men arrested in the death of Tariq’s cousin Mohammad.
Tariq Abu-Khdeir attended attended John Ruhrah Elementary School in Baltimore until his parents relocated to Tampa, where he now lives.
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