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'Lieberman's boys.' Farah
One of the suspects
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Arabs: Political environment to blame for attacks
Gang arrested on suspicion of attacking Arabs is yet another manifestation of increasing violence against east Jerusalem residents, say locals

The arrest of nine youths suspected of assaulting young Arab men in Jerusalem did not surprise residents of the capital's eastern neighborhoods.

 

The Arab residents spoke of an every day reality that has become increasingly violent and the lenient attitude of the police, which was not doing enough to protect them from Jews, who they claimed were trying to instill fear in their communities.

 

"These acts are extraordinarily cruel," said Shaker Abu Snini, an east Jerusalem resident. "It is the manifestation of increasing racism against Arabs – especially those living in east Jerusalem," he noted.

 

The gang of teens was allegedly headed by a 14-year-old boy, and used a girl their age to seduce Arab youths.

 

The girl would then lead the young men to a meeting point in the city's Independence Park, where they were allegedly brutally attacked by the teens with stones, glass bottles and tear gas. Police suspect the girl took part in three of the assaults.

 

Although the arrests were made possible due to a laborious police investigation following the victims' complaints, Abu Snini blamed law enforcement agencies for discriminating against complaints filed by Arabs.

 

"I think there is police negligence, because they do not deal with Arab complaints promptly, and there is a feeling that we are being completely dismissed. Progress is only made after the issue reaches the hands of senior ranks," he lamented.

 

Abu Snini called on the Arab public in Jerusalem to speak out against the phenomenon. "There is a threat on our families and we must launch a public campaign against those responsible. It is an infringement of our right."

 

'Settlers' scheme'

Hussam Tamimi, also an east Jerusalem resident, claimed the violence is aimed at chasing Arab resident out of their houses.

 

"In my opinion it is a settlers' scheme, because the objective is to create fear and danger, so that we leave our lands," he said.

 

Tamimi also believes the violence toward Arabs has become a routine part of the city's harsh reality. "This is not new to us. Almost everyday there's an incident in which settlers attack Arabs."

 

The local Arab leadership frowned upon the incident, and laid blame on the political reality.

 

"These are (Avigdor) Lieberman and Eli Yishai's boys," said Mossawa Center Director Jafar Farah, adding that it was "a result of the education and legal system, as well as the political environment that does nothing to stop the incitement across the country."

 

Farah harshly criticized the decision to release three of the suspects to house arrest, and said that "if it were Arabs attacking Jews, no one would have been released. They would have faced charges and their arrest would have been extended until the completion of proceedings."

 

 

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