Arab village in Israel targeted in racial attack

JERUSALEM Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:08am EDT

1 of 4. Children play in front of graffiti sprayed on a wall in the Israeli-Arab village of Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem June 18, 2013. Vandals daubed 'Arabs out' (L) and 'Racism or Assimilation' graffiti and punctured tyres in the village on Tuesday, targeting a community widely seen in Israel as a showcase for Jewish-Arab coexistence.

Credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Vandals daubed "Arabs out" graffiti and punctured tires in an Arab village near Jerusalem on Tuesday, targeting a community widely seen in Israel as a showcase for Jewish-Arab coexistence.

Unlike similar attacks that have damaged Arab mosques, homes, vehicles and olive groves, the vandalism took place in an Arab village in Israel popular with Jewish visitors, rather than in a Palestinian community in the occupied West Bank.

Abu Ghosh, where the tires of 28 cars were punctured and anti-Arab slogans scrawled on walls, is located along the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway and is well liked among Jewish visitors for its Middle Eastern restaurants.

"In this village ... Arabs and Jews live a normal life," said Jawadat Ibrahim, an Abu Ghosh resident who owns a restaurant in the village.

He said he suspected Jewish militants were behind the incident, although the "Price Tag" slogans left behind by ultranationalists who have vandalized Palestinian property in the West Bank were not found in Abu Ghosh.

The term refers to the "price" militants say they will exact for Palestinian attacks against Israelis or attempts by the Israeli government to curb settlement building in the West Bank.

Condemning the Abu Ghosh attack, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett of the pro-settler Jewish Home party said on his Facebook page: "There is a small group of evil-doers who want to destroy any chance of good neighborly relations between Arabs and Jews in our country ... we will not let them succeed."

Police said they had opened an investigation into the incident, which occurred just two days after Israel's security cabinet approved new measures to designate "Price Tag" vandals as members of "illicit organizations".

An Israeli official said the decision would bring Israel's handling of "Price Tag" suspects more into line with its crackdowns on Palestinian militants, with longer detentions and jail sentences as well as more intrusive surveillance and interrogation.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Comments (2)
Reuters1945 wrote:
“Arab village in Israel targeted in racial attack”

It is revealing and one should ponder why this story has received top billing as a news item. From the title one might immediately believe that dozens of people were killed, wounded and/or savagely beaten by an out of control racist mob.

Only if one bothers to read beyond the inflammatory headline does he/she learn that the attack consisted only of disgusting racist slogans being sprayed on walls and car tires being punctured.

No one, in fact, was physically attacked and absolutely no damage was done to a single car beyond tires being punctured by the idiotic, airhead vandals who perpetrated these despicable acts against private property.

The perpetrators will no doubt be rounded up extremely quickly by the authorities and be made to pay dearly with lengthy prison sentences to set an example for others to pause and reflect before they attempt to damage the good Arab/Israeli relations that exist in the well known and often visited village of Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem.

As the story itself mentions, it is “a community widely seen in Israel as a showcase for Jewish-Arab coexistence”.

What one should take away from the article is not that a small number of pathetic rabble rousers attempted to injure the good multi-ethnic interpersonal relations in this Arab/Israeli village, but far more importantly, the well known fact that the Arabs and Jews in Abu Ghosh live, work and socialize together on a level of mutual respect and general harmony.

The Arabs and Jews who live in Abu Ghosh are no doubt justifiably upset and angry that a small number of trouble makers have tried to make some type of racist statement that tells far more about these pathetic vandals than it does about the Arabs and Jews of Abu Ghosh who unlike the Shiites and Sunnis in nearby Syria, are not obsessed with slaughtering one another by the tens of thousands.

It is worth reflecting that if the events described in this news story occurred any place on Earth other than Israel, no journalist anywhere would have thought such acts of racist graffiti and puncturing some car tires, merited the time of day, even buried at the bottom of the very last pages of a newspaper.

With all the daily carnage and death going on in Syria, Iraq et al, and a hundred other trouble spots on the globe, surely the despicable acts of a small number of extremist vandals, who will soon be rounded up by the authorities and severely punished for their crimes, should not receive the type of billing one might expect if Middle East fanatics had just succeeded in getting their hands on nuclear weapons.

Jun 18, 2013 9:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
KNaiem wrote:
Time to get out the wet noodle

Jun 20, 2013 11:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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