Youths held for attack on Palestinians


POLICE HAVE arrested nine Jewish teenagers in connection with an attack on three Palestinians in central Jerusalem in the early hours of Friday.

The apparently racist attack, for which the suspects have expressed no remorse, has caused outrage in Israel, partly due to the fact that some of the assailants were as young as 13 and 15 and partly because dozens of people witnessed the incident but failed to intervene.

One of the Palestinians, Jamal Julani (17), is recovering in a Jerusalem hospital, after being kicked unconscious by the mob.

“It was a lynch, plain and simple,” a police officer told the Jerusalem magistrates’ court. “The victim lost consciousness and was considered dead until medics arrived and performed CPR. This is a very serious offence that miraculously did not end in death.”

The police said some young girls in the crowd had encouraged the attack on Mr Julani, claiming that Arabs had harassed and attempted to rape Jewish girls.

A police spokesman said additional arrests were expected.

One of the 15-year-old suspects told reporters outside the courtroom that the attack was justified.

“He cursed my mother; he can die as far as I am concerned. There were 40 or 50 kids there and they were all beating him. I was involved.

“If I catch him I’ll beat him. He’s an Arab.”

Mr Julani’s parents, residents of east Jerusalem, described their son as a “victim of terror” and called on the police to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice with the same effort that they would if the victim were Jewish.

A crowd of 200 Israelis demonstrated on Saturday night close to the sight of the attack to show their disgust.

President Shimon Peres noted the biblical command “Thou shalt not kill” and said creating a non-violent society must be a priority.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat called on Jerusalem residents to preserve the city’s coexistence.

“The sane majority and all those who seek coexistence in Jerusalem need to calm the fighting and battle against physical and verbal violence.”

The speaker of the Knesset parliament Rueven Rivlin also condemned the attack.

“Such a terrible racist riot by disturbed nationalists endangers the state of Israel,” he said. “Israel can only exist as a Jewish state if it is also democratic.” priority