kerryThe United States on Wednesday condemned the killing of a Palestinian youth in apparent revenge for the murders of three Israeli teenagers, warning acts of vengeance would worsen an explosive situation.
“There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.
President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice said on Twitter that the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder was “heinous” and called on both Israelis and Palestinians to avoid a cycle of retribution and revenge.
Khder was seen being forced into a car by three Israelis in east Jerusalem. Police later confirmed a body was found in a forest in west Jerusalem.
DNA tests proved the body was that of the missing teenager, his family said.
In his statement, Kerry condemned the killing in “the strongest possible terms.”
He said it was sickening to think a young boy could be “snatched off the streets and his life stolen from him and his family.”
Kerry noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had condemned the killing and urged Israelis not to take the law into their own hands.
“Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation,” Kerry said.
“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.
“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.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron also condemned as “appalling” the killing of the Palestinian teen.
“I’m appalled by the murder of a Palestinian teenager,” Cameron wrote on Twitter. “The loss of four boys this week is a terrible reminder of the need for lasting peace.”
He urged Israel and the Palestinians to exercise restraint as tensions rise.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned the killing of the teen and said it was “vital that the people responsible for this crime are held accountable.”
Palestinian leaders hold Israel responsible for the attack, which is believed to have been carried out in revenge for the kidnap and killing of three Israeli teenagers.
Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel, both 16, and 19-year-old Eyal Ifrach disappeared from a roadside in the West Bank on June 12. Their bodies were found Monday.
Israel has blamed Hamas militants for the deaths.
Cameron has condemned the killing of the Israeli teenagers as an “inexcusable act of terror”.
“I think it’s very important Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those who are responsible,” he told parliament Wednesday.
“We also welcome the fact that (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) has firmly condemned the abduction and actually tried to help find these people.
“It is important… all security operations are conducted with care so that further escalation is avoided.”
Later on Wednesday evening, France’s President Francois Hollande on condemned the “heinous” kidnapping and death of the young Palestinian in Jerusalem.
A statement released from the Elysee Palace said Hollande “condemns in the strongest possible manner this heinous crime and sends his condolences to his family”.
Hollande also called on Israelis and Palestinians to show the “utmost restraint” and take steps to avoid any escalation of conflict through further bloodshed and reprisals.
Tensions have soared since June 12 when three Israeli teenagers disappeared while hitchhiking in the West Bank. Their bodies were found on Monday, with Israel blaming Hamas and vowing to hit it hard.
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