Israel vows to punish suspected Jew-on-Arab violence

Sunday, August 19, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Israel's government at the weekend harshly condemned two incidents in which Israeli Jews are suspected of having violently assaulted Palestinian Arabs, and vowed to swiftly bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.

Both incidents occurred on Thursday night last week. In the first, a firebomb was hurled at a Palestinian taxi, injuring six people inside the vehicle. Police suspect that the perpetrators were Jewish youth frustrated by years of Palestinian attacks on Jewish motorists.

Leaders of Jewish communities in Judea, where the attack took place, noted that Palestinians regularly attack Jewish motorists in the same area and insisted it was too early to determine if the perpetrators were Jews, or Arabs who mistakenly firebombed one of their own.

But Israeli authorities said they were convinced the attackers were Jews, and started questioning local teens known to be involved in "extremist" activities.

Most local Israelis condemned the attack, and empathized with the victims, but were sorely disappointed with the response of their government and the international community.

"Firebombings and rock attacks are part of daily life for Jewish residents of the area, and we have yet to hear of this kind of fast response and efficiency from the security forces in dealing with those incidents," one Israeli told Israel National News. "And here, when there’s just a whiff of a hint of a suspicion that Jews might have done it, we see how, starting from the top...everyone is determined and prepared to ‘do everything to bring those responsible to justice.'"

The second incident took place in Jerusalem's Zion Square, where numerous reports state that a group of up to 12 Jewish youth clashed with three Arab teens, leaving one of the Arabs seriously wounded.

Details about how the beating began remain fuzzy, but what is known is that the result was an 18-year-old Arab boy being hospitalized at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital suffering from serious head injuries.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to express his outrage over the attacks, and to swear he would do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice.

Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon called the attacks acts of terrorism, and said it was "unbearable" and "aggravating" to see Jews violating their people's own moral standards.

News of the attacks, and the responses to them, were the topics of much discussion in Israel on Sunday. While the bulk of Israelis strongly condemned the violence and agreed that those responsible must be punished, many commenters on major news websites also pointed out the stark contrast between Israel's response to these attacks and the Palestinian response to similar Arab attacks against Jews, and why it does not bode well for genuine peace anytime soon.

The vast majority of Israelis have slammed last week's attacks and want to see justice done to the suspected Jewish perpetrators. That is especially true of the Israeli government and media. But when Palestinian Arabs attack Jews in similar fashion, the Palestinian media praises the perpetrators and the Palestinian Authority holds them aloft as heroes, particularly if they end up in an Israeli jail.

PHOTO: Jewish residents of Judea pay a hospital visit to one of the Palestinian Arabs injured in Thursday's firebomb attack.

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