By Vicki Needham - 07/06/14 09:37 AM EDT
Israel’s ambassador to the United States said Sunday that if several Jewish suspects arrested in the killing of a Palestinian teenager are found guilty, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
He said there are “strong suspicions that there are nationalistic motives behind these crimes,” but said it would take several more hours for details to be released to the public.
Israeli authorities arrested six Jewish suspects in the death of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, who was abducted last week and burned alive within two hours of his disappearance. His charred body was found in a forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Palestinians say his death was a revenge killing for the earlier kidnappings and murders of three Israeli teens from the West Bank.
Their bodies were found early last week.
The death of Abu Khdeir set off violent clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli police in Jerusalem.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said that in both instances “we have to condemn acts of violence in the strongest possible terms,” adding that the justice systems have to act immediately.
He said he is "heartened" by the news that arrests have been made and the cases are moving forward.
Dermer said he hoped Palestinian leaders would treat the kidnappings and murders of the three Israeli teenagers with a similar sense of urgency.
“Unfortunately half of the Palestinian leadership is run by Hamas, which is a terror organization openly committed to our destruction,” he said.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Dermer said a tape apparently showing an American teen, who was Abu Khdeir’s cousin, being beaten by Israeli authorities was “very disturbing.”
“It's important to understand from what I understand about this particular incident, this boy was one of six boys who had attacked the police with petrol bombs, with Molotov cocktails,” Dermer said. “Our police are under extreme threat in the Jerusalem area. They're facing mobsters and rioters. It doesn't mean that excessive force is acceptable. It's never acceptable.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had said they would find the perpetrators, said Sunday that Israel would remain calm as Israeli-Palestinian hostilities escalate.
--Kyle Balluck contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:31 a.m.