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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/6/14

Palestinian Boy Burned to Death

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James Wall
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Cross-posted from Wallwritings

Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir's father, center, greeted men who paid their condolences on Saturday.
Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir's father, center, greeted men who paid their condolences on Saturday.
(Image by Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times)
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>The headline for Jodi Rudoren's July 5 New York Times story captures the ugly report in all of its appalling harshness... "Autopsy Suggests Palestinian Teenager Was Burned to Death After Abduction"

The picture above, from the New York Times, is that of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir's father, greeting guests at his home Saturday. One of his younger sons stands with him.

The full story begins:

"Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, spent his last hours before being abducted, beaten and most likely burned to death in one of his favorite places, doing some of his favorite things.

Until about 1 a.m. Wednesday, a close cousin said, Muhammad was at the recreation center named for his respected, expansive Palestinian family in the ancient section of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, impressing friends with his defensive prowess at the foosball table and watching World Cup matches on a flat-screen television he recently helped install."

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Israeli police have arrested several "Jewish suspects" in connection with the crime. No names were released.

Palestinians believe the death of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, "was a revenge killing for the earlier deaths of three Israeli teens" near Hebron, in the West Bank.

The Jewish Voice for Peace website reported this week that the Israeli government has responded to the recent rash of violence by sealing off Palestinian towns, arresting more than 400 Palestinians and raiding over 100 homes. Israel also carried out bombing raids in the same time period.

At a time when American Protestant church leaders continue to debate how best to respond to the asymmetrical struggle between Israel, the military occupation power, and the Palestinian people, the cycle of violence builds with all the furor of a fierce storm.

The fierceness of that storm stands in contrast to the conversation within U.S. religious ruling circles in which leaders continue to float along above the immorality of this conflict.

Pete Seeger's classic folk song asks, "when will they ever learn"? What needs to be learned in this conflict is that this is no ancient blood feud which has led to this suffering.

The conflict derives from a military occupation in which thugs on the occupiers' side of the conflict are allowed to increasingly spin out of control, roaming streets and forests to brutalize a captive population whose only weapons are stones and largely ineffective rockets.

The Times provides a medical report and describes the immediate aftermath of the death of Muhammad Abu Khdeir:

"On Saturday, the Palestinian attorney general said that an autopsy had found soot in Muhammad's lungs, suggesting that he had been burned alive before his charred body was found in a forest.

"The preliminary autopsy findings, and reports that a 15-year-old, American-born cousin of Muhammad had been brutally beaten and then arrested by Israeli police officers during a violent clash in the neighborhood on Thursday, only increased the outrage Saturday in Shuafat and among Palestinians elsewhere."

This is what happens in an occupation. Violence spirals and law disappears into chaos.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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