By Vicki Needham - 07/06/14 12:03 PM EDT
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested Sunday that Secretary of State John Kerry should be dispatched to Israel to show U.S. support over turmoil caused by the recent deaths of four teenagers and the apparent beating of an American teen.
“This thing is in danger of spiraling out of control,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“There’s a whole lot of reasons for it, but right now, this is a time when the United States could play a constructive role.”
Early last week, three Israeli teenagers, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, were found dead, after they were kidnapped in June.
On Wednesday, 16-year-old Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive within hours of his abduction in what Palestinians are calling retaliation for the deaths of three Israeli youths.
Then reports emerged Sunday that Tariq Khdeir, a U.S. citizen, who is a cousin of Abu Khdeir, was beaten by Israeli police.
Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, said a tape appearing to show Tariq Khdeir 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 on ABC’s “This Week.”
“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.”
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday on CBS that “when you start killing children, you set yourself on a path that’s hard to reverse.”
He said that, while he believes Israel will try to investigate and get justice for the crimes, “the other side is not very good at that.”
The State Department said it is “profoundly troubled” by the reports.
Tariq Khdeir was held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem and visited by an official from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, the State Department said.
Tariq Khdeir’s lawyer told CNN on Sunday that the 15-year-old will pay bail and be kept under house detention while an investigation continues.
Clashes broke out in Israel on Saturday following Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s funeral and the emerging reports about how he died. An autopsy revealed he had soot in his airways.
Israeli police said Sunday that they have arrested six Jewish youths in connection with the crime.
Dermer told Fox News Sunday that those suspects “will not be hailed as heroes by Israeli political leaders.”