Tampa teen's basketball coach speaks out on Israel situation

Tampa teen's basketball coach speaks out on Israel situation

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Tariq Abukhdeir and his family met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in west bank. Tariq Abukhdeir and his family met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in west bank.
BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) -

When Isa Jones was watching a video of Israeli police beating someone, he never thought it would be one of the boys who he coaches.

“It's really kind of unbelievable, shocking. I know it’s going to be shocking to a lot of these kids that this can actually happen,” said Jones.

Jones is 15-year-old Tariq Abukhdeir’s basketball coach at University Academy of Florida in Tampa. Abukhdeir was arrested while in Israel Thursday and his family claims video shows Abukhdeir being beaten by Israeli police. Abukhdeir was near a protest for his cousin’s murder when he was arrested.

Related story: Tampa teen beaten and jailed in Israel

“It's a situation where they are putting their politics on him. That’s not his personality. He's very non combative. He's a kid that very much respects authority figures,” said Jones.

Today at the Tampa office for Council on American Islamic Relations, Abukhdeir’s family asked for the U.S. to step in, so that Tariq could come home immediately.

“Imagine if it were yours if your government took four full days to get involved in his beating? It's absolutely harsh,” said Abukhdeir’s aunt, Sanah Abukhdeir.

“We want to put the ones who severely beat him like that while he was unconscious ...be brought to justice please,” added Sanah.

Tariq Abukhdeir also spoke out again Monday, asking for justice in his cousin’s case.

"Justice has not been served. They still have a lot of stuff to do. They still have to go through a lot of things. We have to let them know what is right and what's wrong," said Abukhdeir.

Meantime, Jones is awaiting Tariq’s safe return home and that his students will be more aware of what is happening in Israel.

“Like it's not happening to real people, it happened to one of our own now,” said Jones.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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