Israeli authorities condemn attacks on Palestinians

Sat, Aug 18, 2012, 01:00

THREE PALESTINIAN youths were badly beaten in the centre of Jerusalem and a West Bank petrol bomb attack left six others hospitalised, in two separate anti-Arab attacks blamed on Jewish extremists.

The Israeli authorities have vowed to catch the perpetrators and had no explanation for the attacks, which seemed unrelated.

Eyewitnesses said a gang of Jewish youths numbering dozens and shouting “death to the Arabs”, set on three Palestinians in the centre of Jerusalem in the early hours of yesterday morning in an apparently unprovoked attack. The youths fled after knocking one of the Palestinians to the ground and kicking him unconscious.

The Ha’aretz newspaper quoted from a Facebook page of one eyewitness: “Today I saw a lynch with my own eyes, in the centre of Jerusalem . . . ‘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.”

The Jerusalem police have set up a special investigation team in an effort to find the culprits.

A few hours earlier, a petrol bomb was hurled at a Palestinian taxi in the West Bank causing it to catch fire. Palestinian medics said six people in the vehicle – all members of one family, and including two young children – suffered burns.

All six were transferred to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment and two were described as being in a serious condition.

Israeli military officials blamed right-wing Jewish extremists for the attack, and said tracks led to a nearby West Bank settlement.

Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the attack in a statement, pledging to make every effort to catch the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

He asked special envoy Yitzhak Molcho to convey his disapproval of the act to the Palestinian leadership on his behalf and issued a condemnation in Arabic on his Twitter account.

Palestinian militants sometimes attack settler vehicles travelling in the West Bank but attacks by Jewish militants against Palestinian traffic are rare.