WJC urges Israelis and Palestinians to refrain from acts of violence

03 July 2014 NEW YORK/JERUSALEM – Leaders of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Thursday condemned the murder of a 16-year-old Arab teenager, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, near Jerusalem this week as a “callous crime” and said his killers must be found and brought to justice quickly. They also condemned the calls for revenge and attacks on Arabs that have been heard in Israel since the tragic discovery of the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teens this week, urging restraint among Israelis and Palestinians.Ronald S. Lauder and Shai Hermesh emphasized that the Israeli police investigation into Khdeir murder had yet to be completed and that it was therefore too early to attribute the crime to Israeli extremists or call it an act of revenge for the murder of the three teenagers.Nonetheless, said WJC President Lauder, “murdering children is a heinous crime that must be punished severely, irrespective of the killers’ identity or motives or the murdered person’s ethnic or religious. Just as we were shocked and disgusted by the murder of Naftali, Eyal and Gilad, we are horrified by the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear, taking the law into one’s own hands is not an option.”In Jerusalem, the chairman of the World Jewish Congress-Israel, ShaiHermesh, urged both Israelis and Palestinians to refrain from whipping up sentiments further in the inflamed atmosphere. “The last thing we need now is the death of more innocent people. Let’s not forget that Jews and Arabs have no alternative but to live together in this small land, and let’s make sure that the law is upheld to protect all citizens,” Hermesh said.