BEIRUT: The kidnapping and killing of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammad Abu Khdair, suspected to be retribution for the murder of three Israeli teenagers, has sparked national criticism of Israel.
Future bloc head Fouad Siniora Thursday denounced the suspected revenge killing of the Palestinian teen as a “barbaric murder,” blaming “racist” Israeli policies for the violence between Arabs and Israelis.
“The kidnapping and slaying of Palestinian boy Mohammad Abu Khdair is the most heinous and atrocious crime that could be committed against youth and humanity,” Siniora said. “Israel is fully responsible for the deterioration of security in the occupied territories to such an ugly scale, resulting from Israel’s racist, oppressive and vindictive policies.”
Siniora stressed that the “slaying” of innocent people was rejected regardless of which side they belong to, saying that there was no justification for murder.
He also urged the international community to act firmly and curb Israel’s expansionist policies, stressing that mere condemnation of Abu Khdair’s murder was not enough to defuse tensions.
The Cabinet also expressed solidarity with Palestine.
“The Lebanese government announces its condemnation for the Israelis’ savage actions,” said Information Minister Ramzi Joreige.
Speaking after Thursday’s Cabinet session, Joreige said the government fully supported the Palestinians, “who continue to suffer from the ugliest forms of Israeli injustice.”
The Cabinet released a statement emphasizing that “Israelis are resuming their favorite habit of collective punishment against citizens, by punishing those who had nothing to do with the killing of the three settlers.”
Khdair’s killing sparked protests in occupied East Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinian young people threw stones at Israeli security forces, who retaliated with sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets.
The three teenagers went missing on June 12, and their bodies were found Monday north of Hebron. Hamas, whose central power is in Gaza, has been accused of abducting and killing the teens.
Israel strengthened its forces Thursday along the border with the Gaza Strip, heightening tensions between the two parties.
Future MP Bahia Hariri also accused Israel of using savage methods to oppress Palestinians.
“I salute Palestinians for their resistance and sacrifices,” Hariri said.
Her statement came after she met with Hamas Representative in Lebanon Ali Baraki and the movement’s representative in Sidon, Abu Ahmad Fadel, at her Majdelyoun residence, where they discussed recent developments in Palestine.
“We informed Hariri about the current situation in Palestine, especially the tightened Israeli measures over our people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” Baraki said after the meeting.
The two representatives assured Hariri that a much-anticipated 150 elite force would soon be deployed in the Palestinian Ain al-Hilweh camp to quell rising tensions and security incidents.
Clashes erupted recently in the southern camp between the radical Fatah al-Islam group and supporters of the Fatah Movement.
“The Palestinians are ready to control the situation in the camp and the joint security force in ready to be deployed in Ain al-Hilweh,” Baraki said. “The forces will first be deployed for a three-months trial period before it becomes compulsory for all Palestinian camps”
“We will not allow the camps to get dragged into any local or regional disputes,” he said, referring to clashes in Beirut’s Shatila camp, which he said was an independent incident with no political dimension.
Earlier this week a dispute took place between members of the Shaker Berjawi-affiliated Lebanese al-Zir family and Palestinian groups, killing three people.
“Our Palestinian brothers in Lebanon have been maintaining security and stability within their camps, especially Ain al-Hilweh,” Hariri said.
“I salute all of the efforts made by all the Palestinian factions with the collaboration of the Lebanese authorities to rapidly deploy the elite security forces.”