Foreigners at protests often land themselves in trouble, sometimes even ending up dead. On Wednesday, the 15-year-old American teen who allegedly suffered an attack from Israeli police during a protest earlier this month returned home, reports The Los Angeles Times.
Family members said that Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli police on July 6 while he was at a protest in memory of his cousin Mohammed Abu Khudair. His family also denies that he was actively participating in the rioting that erupted from the protest. His cousin, Mohammed Khudair, was allegedly taken by Israeli extremists, who then set fire to the 16-year-old young man in retaliation for the murder of three Israeli teens.
Upon arrival to the Tampa International Airport, Khdeir and his mother were cheered by a crowd of about 50 who stood proudly with U.S. and Palestinian flags. The day that brought the badly beaten teen home was a visibly powerful moment for both Tariq and his family, reported Fox News.
“I am only 15 but I will never think of freedom the same as I did two months ago. No child, whether they are Palestinian or Israeli, deserves to die.”
Tariq spoke for only a few minutes, according to Fox, and his comments were to the point. He mentioned being excited to play with his friends and go fishing, as well as appreciation for the national support during his ordeal of allegedly being beaten by Israeli police.
“I got through these past two weeks because I knew you were all thinking of me.”
Tariq spent nine days under house arrest after he was released from police custody. His mother called the experience “a nightmare.” The teen received head trauma and had to receive stitches following the confrontation with Israeli police, according to Hassan Shibly, Khdeir’s attorney and the executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Shibly also says that video evidence exists of the attack. The Israeli government is reviewing the footage to decide to how to proceed in order to rectify the situation now that the young man is home, especially after a formal complaint was launched by Tariq’s father.
While Tariq insists he was an innocent bystander, Israeli police have claimed the teen violently resisted arrest. The police also stated Tariq Khdeir had a slingshot in his hand and his face was covered to obscure his identity, which led them to believe Tariq was participating in the riot.
The murder of Khdeir’s cousin is thought to have been retribution for three murdered Israeli teens who were found in the West Bank in June. The conflict between Palestine and Israel has reached another of its many historical tipping points during the last month, with the most recent move being Israeli troops deployed to the ground in the Gaza strip after 100’s more missiles were fired into Israel’s cities by Hamas.
With the conflict coming to a head, the family is happy to have the young man home. If there is one thing to be learned from this, it is that the lives of all children are precious.