WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS - United Nations and United States strongly condemned the brutal murder of Hussein Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager, whose body was reportedly found in a Jerusalem forest, as tensions rise in the region.  

‘It is sickening to think of an innocent 17 year old boy snatched off the streets and his life stolen from him and his family.  There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people,’ Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement..

‘Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation. ’We look to both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take all necessary steps to prevent acts of violence and bring their perpetrators to justice.  The world has too often learned the hard way that violence only leads to more violence and at this tense and dangerous moment, all parties must do everything in their power to protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution,’ Kerry added.

In Jerusalem, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry said, ‘There can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians.

‘The perpetrators of such heinous acts must be brought to justice.’ Serry repeated his call on all sides to do everything they can not to further exacerbate an already tense atmosphere. The UN Relief and Works Agency strongly condemned the killing of the Palestinian boy, as well as the recent murder of the three Israeli teenagers. ‘We urge maximum restraint from all parties to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said in a statement. ‘We call for strict compliance with international law by all relevant actors to avoid further loss of life, injuries and suffering.’ Recalling that collective punishment is illegal under international law, UNRWA called on the Israeli authorities to refrain from punishing individuals for offences they themselves have not personally committed. The agency stressed that the human impact on all sides caused by the events of the last three weeks is ‘grave.’ From 13 June to 1 July, seven Palestinians have been killed, including five registered refugees, while almost 200 have been injured.