July 3, 2014 5:27 pm

As Palestinian family waits to bury son, Israel deals with online hate

WATCH:Tensions remain high over the deaths of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian youth, which Palestinians allege was a revenge killing. Shirlee Engel reports.

The family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir will have to wait to lay the murdered Palestinian teen to rest.

The 17-year-old’s corpse remains in Tel Aviv, where Israeli and Palestinian medical examiners are conducting a postmortem.

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Khdeir was found dead early Wednesday, his body burned in a suspected revenge killing following the murders of three teenagers from an Israeli settlement.

But his family, which has called before for both sides to calm down, accused the Israeli government of purposely delaying the release of his body in order in order to lessen the chance of confrontation, Haaretz reported.

Officials denied the claim, saying the forensic examination of the boy’s body is taking longer because it was badly burned.

The examination was also delayed because the Palestinian pathologist involved in the autopsy was detained at a security checkpoint in Hebron, according to Haaretz.

Police were concerned the boy’s funeral could further increase tensions, as clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces continued.

WATCH: Israeli police fire tear gas at Palestinian protesters

Since Israeli authorities discovered the bodies of Israeli teens Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel on Monday calls for retribution have proliferated from Israelis, furious at the murder of the three young men, which has been blamed on Hamas, and Palestinians enraged by the abduction and murder of Khdeir just a day after the Israeli boys’ funeral.

READ MORE: Who are Israel’s main suspects in the kidnapping, murder of 3 teens?

Israel has come out with a stern warning to any of its citizens who are spreading hatred online or may consider taking matters into their own hands to avenge the murders of the three Israelis.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also come under fire for his own vindictive rhetoric online.

A page called “The People of Israel Demand Revenge,” which had more than 35,000 followers before it was removed from Facebook on Thursday, had dozens of posts in Hebrew directing hatred at Arabs and in some cases encouraging violence.

The Israeli Defense Force on Thursday jailed seven cadets for 10 days for their online posts.

In one post, soldiers covered their faces with a piece of paper bearing the message ” Bibi [Netanyahu], let us assassinate the terrorists,” according to The Times of Israel.

Israeli Defense Force members hold a sign reading “Bibi, let us assassinate the terrorists” in a photo posted to a Facebook group.

via Facebook

Members of the Israeli Defense Force hold signs bearing the message “Battalion 97 demands revenge” in a photo that was posted to a Facebook group calling for revenge for the murders of three Israeli teens.

via Facebook

Although the soldiers’ faces were obscured they posted their battalion—the religious Jenin-based Netzah Yehuda battalion—The Times of Israel reported.

“This level of retaliation is excessive and this is what is spawned when governments do not respect the rule of law, when governments themselves resort to excessive forms of retaliation,” UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said while attending a conference in Vienna on Thursday.

Justice Minsiter Tzipi Livni said social media forums “have become a dangerous and violent platform for incitement” and such messages are “not the way of the State of Israel.

“We must not allow homegrown extremists to bring us down to moral bankruptcy,” Livni told reporters during a conference in the southern city of Eilat.

But she wouldn’t go into “the circumstances of the murder of the Arab boy in Jerusalem,” The Times of Israel reported her saying.

READ MORE: Mourning, military strikes after Israeli teens found dead

Livni also reportedly opposed a suggestion from Israel’s defence minister to build a settlement in the killed Israelis’ honour. Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian territory have been deemed illegal multiple times by various international bodies, and Israel’s continued expansion of those settlements has been called out by both Palestinian and U.S. leaders as a gesture of poor faith.

Meantime, some Israelis are taking matters into the own hands in calling for peace.

Thousands of people reportedly took part in a peace rally in Tel Aviv Thursday evening, promoting “hope as opposed to escalation” and “issue a clear and strong call against violence, against extremism [and] against the bloodshed.”

With files from Anna Mehler Paperny

© Shaw Media, 2014

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