In a major political embarrassment for the Israeli regime and its American sponsors, videotape of the police beating of a Palestinian-American teenager, 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khudair, was made public Friday and widely reported by American and international media over the weekend.
Tariq Abu Khudair is a cousin of Muhammad Abu Khudair, the 16-year-old who was murdered by right-wing Israeli vigilantes on Wednesday, July 2 after being kidnapped outside his home in the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
Tariq and his family were visiting relatives in the same neighborhood, including Muhammad, in the course of a month-long trip to their homeland. According to one news report, there are as many as 5,000 members of the Abu Khudair extended family, many of them in the Shuafat, but others living in the United States and Canada.
Protests broke out in Shuafat Thursday after the killing of Muhammad Abu Khudair became known. Tariq was watching a protest when riot-equipped Israeli police seized him, struck him, and threw him to the ground. A savage beating lasting several minutes then ensued, filmed by an onlooker and made available on YouTube .
Tariq was dragged off to jail unconscious. He was held there for three days until he was released on bail by a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, which ordered him confined to house arrest while charges of throwing firebombs and injuring a policeman were investigated.
When released, the marks of the beating were visible in swelling and bruises all over his face and torso.
Tariq has little memory of the attack, saying, “I was attacked by police. I woke up in the hospital.” He first learned many of the details of the beating when he was shown the video.
The Israeli Justice Ministry has opened an investigation into charges of police brutality, but a police spokesman adamantly defended the conduct of the officers who pummeled the helpless teenager.