Israel Police: Hundreds watched attempt to lynch Palestinians in Jerusalem, did not interfere
Four minors, including one girl, arrested in connection with attack at Zion Square in which one victim was seriously injured and three others were slightly hurt.
After initially treating the event as a brawl, police on Sunday for the first time referred to the attack on Palestinian youths by dozens of Jewish teens in Jerusalem early last Friday as a “lynching.”
A police representative told the Magistrate’s Court that hundreds of people watched the event without helping the victims.
Witnesses say the attack lasted a short while before police arrived and the attackers fled.
Four minors between the ages of 13-15, including one girl, were arrested on Sunday in connection with the attack at Zion Square, in which one victim was seriously injured and three others were slightly hurt.
Earlier, the court extended by four days the detention of the 19-year-old man arrested Friday. Police believe there will be further arrests.
Sergeant First Class Shmuel Shenhav defined the attack as a lynch, and said: “The victim lost his consciousness and was thought to be dead until a Magen David Adom [emergency paramedic] crew arrived and resuscitated him. He was anesthetized and on a respirator in the hospital for days. This was an extremely severe crime. Only a miracle saved him from death.”
A 13-year-old suspect brought into court yesterday did not deny he was present at the scene, but said he wasn’t involved in the beating. His mother, L., told Haaretz: “They came at noon while he was sleeping. The investigators woke him up and took him to the police car. How can they do such a thing to a young kid?”
The suspect’s brother, who was also present at the scene, said outside the court that it was the four Arab youths who had provoked passersby and “made passes at Jewish girls.” He added: “Why should an Arab make passes at my sister? They shouldn’t be here, it’s our area. For what other reason would they come here if not to make passes at Jewish girls?”
The 19-year-old suspect’s attorney, Ariel Attari, said that his client wasn’t present at the scene and said he had an alibi for the entire time.
Meanwhile, victim Jamal Julani remains in serious condition, according to the authorities. Julani, 17, from Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem in critical condition. His mother told Haaretz that he had regained consciousness but is very confused, did not remember the assault and did not understand why he was in the hospital.
“There were four of us,” one of the victim’s cousins, Mohammed Mujahad, said Saturday, recalling what happened when he and his three cousins reached Zion Square after midnight Thursday. “Suddenly maybe 50 Jews came toward us shouting, ‘Arabs Arabs.’ I don’t understand what they said. They weren’t calling us. They were just generally shouting.”
According to an eyewitness, the group of teenagers appeared to be hunting for Arab victims, calling out “Death to Arabs” and other anti-Arab slurs.
“We walked slowly, so there wouldn’t be trouble,” related Nuaman Julani, another of Jamal’s cousins. “Suddenly one said to Jamal, ‘What are you doing, you son of a bitch?’ Jamal tried to flee, but [the attacker] whacked him in the chest and [Jamal] fell.”
The incident was brief, according to Mujahad and Nuaman Julani. One of the cousins says he saw a few attackers hitting and kicking Jamal as he lay on the ground. Both noted that police quickly arrived, after which all the perpetrators dispersed.
Lynching in Jerusalem: where impunity and Israel’s unchecked racial hatred lead
A horrifying report in Haaretz today:
Dozens of Jewish youths attacked three young Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Zion Square early on Friday morning, in what one witness described as “a lynch” on Facebook.
One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Acting Jerusalem police chief General Menachem Yitzhaki has set up a special team to investigate the incident and detain the suspects.
The three were allegedly attacked by youths shouting “Death to the Arabs” at them, as well as other racial slurs. One of them fell on the floor, and his attackers continued to beat him until he lost consciousness. They subsequently fled from the scene.
Within a short period of time rescue volunteers and Magen David Adom rescue services arrived on the scene and found the victim with no pulse and not breathing. After a lengthy resuscitation attempt, he was transferred to the hospital.
A witness described what she saw on Facebook:
“But today I saw a lynch with my own eyes, in Zion Square, the center of the city of Jerusalem ….. and shouts of ‘A Jew is a soul and Arab is a son of a –,’ were shouted loudly and dozens (!!) of youths ran and gathered and started to really beat to death three Arab youths who were walking quietly in the Ben Yehuda street.”
Not isolated incidents
Much remains unknown at present, including the identities and condition of the victims. What we do know however is that such racist attacks by Israelis are not exceptional. They are frighteningly common and the incitement and permissive atmosphere that fosters them comes from the very top of Israeli society.
Yesterday, 6 Palestinians were injured in a firebombing by suspected “Jewish extremists” in the occupied West Bank.
In March there was the mob attack by Jewish youths shouting “Death to the Arabs” on Arab workers at Malha Mall in southern Jerusalem. That mob attack was caught on video (below).
Israeli police did nothing in the wake of that incident. Instead, Israel’s hasbara machinery jumped into action, denying there was a pervasive problem with racism. The Jewish Agency’s online hasbara chief Avi Mayer even mounted a publicity stunt where he went to Malha Mall to distribute candy. That didn’t solve the problem, did it?
We do not know it, but it is now a fair question to ask if any of the youths who were allowed to get away with the violence at Malha Mall in March were in “Zion Square” last night.
Getting away with murder
While Palestinians are often held in Israeli jails for years without charge or trial, the Israeli “justice” system is notoriously easy on Israeli Jews who murder Palestinians whether in hate crimes or war crimes.
Just last week two Israeli soldiers were given sentences of 45 days in jail for killing Rayah and Majda Abu Hajaj, a mother and her daughter, who were waving white flags during Israel’s 2008-2009 attack on Gaza.
In July, an Israeli youth was given a short sentence of 8 years for the brutal, unprovoked racially motivated killing of Hussam Rawidi.
Then there is Ziad Jilani, who was shot and killed by Israeli border police officers on an East Jerusalem street in broad daylight two years ago without any reason. His American wife Moira, the mother of their two young children,spoke to The Electronic Intifada in May about her so far fruitless effort to bring Ziad’s killers to justice.
Such tolerance has a long history in Israel, symbolized by the notorious case of Colonel Issachar Shadmi who commanded the troops who murdered 48 Palestinian civilians in the unprovoked massacre at Kafr Qasim in 1956. Shadmi was fined just one penny.
These are just a few cases. There are thousands more cases of Palestinians killed or injured, where no investigation is ever opened, and no justice is available for the victims.
Is it any wonder that there is so much racist violence when Israeli leaders constantly spew hatred, racist crimes and war crimes go unpunished, and Israeli children are taught to view Palestinians and Arabs as less than human from the very earliest age?