Israeli police have arrested seven Jewish teens, two of them girls, suspected of attacking three Arabs in Jerusalem.
Haaretz cited a police representative as saying that hundreds of people watched the attack on the three Palestinian youths last Friday in Jerusalem but did nothing to stop it.
The Los Angeles Times cited Israeli media as reporting that bystanders even harassed emergency responders as they worked to save the life of one of the beaten youths.
Government officials in Jerusalem, a city shared by 500,000 Jews and 284,000 Arabs, have expressed shock and outrage over the attack, vowing to prosecute those responsible, the LA Times reported.
In a separate report, Haaretz quoted the main suspect — a 15-year-old boy — as saying of one of the alleged victims: "For all I care, let him die. He’s an Arab. He cursed my mother. He can die."
He added: “A Jew can’t go through Damascus Gate without getting stabbed... Everyone hit him, there were some 40 people there and all of them hit him.”
According to The New York Times, scores of Jewish youths were involved in the attack in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square, which left a 17-year-old Palestinian, Jamal Julani, in a coma in the hospital.
The youths were reportedly roaming through a popular pedestrian thoroughfare chanting anti-Arab slogans before the attack.
The paper added:
Two of the suspects were girls, the youngest 13, adding to the soul-searching and acknowledgment that the poisoned political environment around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has affected the moral compass of youths growing up within it.
The paper noted that the mob attack came on the same day that a Palestinian taxi on the West Bank was fire bombed, apparently by Jewish extremists.
“There appears to be a worryingly high level of tolerance — whether explicit or implicit — for such despicable acts of violence,” it cited an editorial in The Jerusalem Post as saying Monday.
“A clear distinction must be made between legitimate acts of self-defense aimed at protecting Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and pointless, immoral acts of violence.”
The Times cited a new report by the US State Department as labeling attacks by Jews on Palestinians as terrorism.
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