By Ali Al-Bassam
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
JERUSALEM, Israel — Several Israeli teenagers were arrested last Sunday on suspicion of assaulting a group of Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Zion Square last Thursday. The attack left one 17-year-old, Jamal Julani, unconscious and hospitalized. The police said that hundreds of bystanders had witnessed the beating, but no one intervened.
Several of the suspects, including a 13-year-old girl, appeared in court last Monday. A 19-year-old who was arrested last Saturday for his involvement in the attack against four young Palestinians was brought in front of a judge in Jerusalem’s Magistrate Court, and was sentenced to spend three additional days in jail. Their identities have not been disclosed.
“For my part, he can die,” one of the suspects, who admitted to having taken part in the assault, said to assembled media. “He’s an Arab,” he added. “He cursed my mother. If it were up to me, I would have murdered him.”
Authorities say that Julani remains in a serious condition. The East Jerusalem resident was admitted to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, in critical condition, and is on a respirator. His mother told Haaretz that he woke up from his coma, but that he had no recollection of the attack and was confused about being in a hospital. The other three victims, who were not seriously injured, are cousins of Julani.
“There were four of us,” Mohammed Mujahad, a cousin of Julani, said as he described the attack. “We were walking and suddenly maybe 50 Jews came toward us shouting, ‘Arabs, Arabs.’ I don’t understand what they said. They weren’t calling us. They were generally just shouting.”
According to eyewitnesses, the mob of teenagers looked as if they were on a witch hunt for Arab victims, yelling “Death to Arabs,” and other anti-Arab slurs. The Jerusalem Post reported that one bystander wrote on her Facebook page that “When one of the Arab teenagers fell to the floor, the teenagers continued to hit him in the head, he lost consciousness, his eyes rolled, his angled head twitched, and then those who were kicking him fled and the rest gathered in a circle around, with some still shouting with hate in their eyes.”
Israeli politicians immediately condemned the attacks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu said that this was a “very serious incident.” Last Sunday, the Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs, Moshe Ya’Alon, described the assault as “a terrorist attack.”
“The hate crimes committed over the weekend against Arabs in Judea and Samaria [the biblical terms for the West Bank] and Jerusalem are intolerable, outrageous and must be firmly dealt with,” Ya’alon said. “These are terrorist attacks. They run contrary to Jewish morality and values, and constitute first and foremost an educational and moral failure.”
For further information, please see:
BBC News — Israeli Youths Arrested Over Assault on Palestinians — 20 August 2012
New York Times — Young Israelis Held in Attack on Arabs — 20 August 2012
The Guardian — Jewish Settler Attacks on Palestinians Listed as ‘Terrorist Incidents’ by US — 19 August 2012
Haaretz — Israel Police Arrests 3 More Suspects in Connection with Jerusalem ‘Lynch’ — 19 August 2012
Jewish Telegraphic Agency — Jewish Youth Accused of Attacking Arabs in Jerusalem — 17 August 2012