Lynching in Jerusalem: where impunity and Israel’s unchecked racial hatred lead

graffiti-death-to-arabs.jpg

“Death to the Arabs”: Hebrew graffiti sprayed on a Palestinian home in the West Bank village of al-Jinya near Ramallah in February.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

A horrifying report in Haaretz today:

Dozens of Jewish youths attacked three young Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Zion Square early on Friday morning, in what one witness described as “a lynch” on Facebook.

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Acting Jerusalem police chief General Menachem Yitzhaki has set up a special team to investigate the incident and detain the suspects.

The three were allegedly attacked by youths shouting “Death to the Arabs” at them, as well as other racial slurs. One of them fell on the floor, and his attackers continued to beat him until he lost consciousness. They subsequently fled from the scene.

Within a short period of time rescue volunteers and Magen David Adom rescue services arrived on the scene and found the victim with no pulse and not breathing. After a lengthy resuscitation attempt, he was transferred to the hospital.

A witness described what she saw on Facebook:

“But today I saw a lynch with my own eyes, in Zion Square, the center of the city of Jerusalem ….. and shouts of ‘A Jew is a soul and Arab is a son of a –,’ were shouted loudly and dozens (!!) of youths ran and gathered and started to really beat to death three Arab youths who were walking quietly in the Ben Yehuda street.”

Not isolated incidents

Much remains unknown at present, including the identities and condition of the victims. What we do know however is that such racist attacks by Israelis are not exceptional. They are frighteningly common and the incitement and permissive atmosphere that fosters them comes from the very top of Israeli society.

Yesterday, 6 Palestinians were injured in a firebombing by suspected “Jewish extremists” in the occupied West Bank.

In recent months there have been frequent reports of violent attacks and hate rallies against African migrants and refugees often led or incited by Israeli politicians.

In March there was the mob attack by Jewish youths shouting “Death to the Arabs” on Arab workers at Malha Mall in southern Jerusalem. That mob attack was caught on video (below).

Israeli police did nothing in the wake of that incident. Instead, Israel’s hasbara machinery jumped into action, denying there was a pervasive problem with racism. The Jewish Agency’s online hasbara chief Avi Mayer even mounted a publicity stunt where he went to Malha Mall to distribute candy. That didn’t solve the problem, did it?

We do not know it, but it is now a fair question to ask if any of the youths who were allowed to get away with the violence at Malha Mall in March were in “Zion Square” last night.

Getting away with murder

While Palestinians are often held in Israeli jails for years without charge or trial, the Israeli “justice” system is notoriously easy on Israeli Jews who murder Palestinians whether in hate crimes or war crimes.

Just last week two Israeli soldiers were given sentences of 45 days in jail for killing Rayah and Majda Abu Hajaj, a mother and her daughter, who were waving white flags during Israel’s 2008-2009 attack on Gaza.

In July, an Israeli youth was given a short sentence of 8 years for the brutal, unprovoked racially motivated killing of Hussam Rawidi.

Then there is Ziad Jilani, who was shot and killed by Israeli border police officers on an East Jerusalem street in broad daylight two years ago without any reason. His American wife Moira, the mother of their two young children, spoke to The Electronic Intifada in May about her so far fruitless effort to bring Ziad’s killers to justice.

Such tolerance has a long history in Israel, symbolized by the notorious case of Colonel Issachar Shadmi who commanded the troops who murdered 48 Palestinian civilians in the unprovoked massacre at Kafr Qasim in 1956. Shadmi was fined just one penny.

These are just a few cases. There are thousands more cases of Palestinians killed or injured, where no investigation is ever opened, and no justice is available for the victims.

Is it any wonder that there is so much racist violence when Israeli leaders constantly spew hatred, racist crimes and war crimes go unpunished, and Israeli children are taught to view Palestinians and Arabs as less than human from the very earliest age?

Comments

On the subject of impunity, I just wanted to add two comments:

1) The first is that, only two weeks ago, I saw a similar (although thankfully slightly less violent) encounter take place in the exact same spot - Zion Square in Jerusalem. I immediately ran to a nearby police officer, explaining what had just transpired (in Hebrew), while pointing out the two Israeli guys who had just jumped a Palestinian teen in broad daylight. The cop basically blew me off, responding with: "It's just a couple of boys horsing around; you need to relax a little!" I was shocked and disgusted, but didn't know what else to do. Given this recent experience, I'm sadly not at all surprised to read about last night's terrible incident... it is truly part of a larger trend.

2) In the case that happened yesterday in Zion Square, one of the perpetrators actually had the audacity to brag publicly about his involvement on facebook. (see: http://972mag.com/palestinian-...). I decided to call in the Israeli police hotline for tips. Of course, as you can imagine, I encountered a fairly dismissive tone... So, I can only assume that, here too, nothing will come of yet another attempt to report an incident to a police force that would rather turn a blind eye. There's simply no words to describe how deeply-rooted the culture of impunity is here... I'm sharing this here in the hopes that maybe more people might call to report Amihay Hilel and his group of thugs. Or that maybe somehow just this once, somebody might actually be held to account. But, realistically, I know that almost certainly won't happen.

Israel is in a far more precarious situation than people in the Middle East realize. Unemployed, for one thing, now that its old function as the local henchman for the US and Europe has been withdrawn by the masters, its "military prowess" shown for what it is.

In a matter of a few months, Israel's strategic position has been transformed from one based on a thin veneer of "military supriority" (true only in the conventional, 1970s sense) to immobility, isolation and internal paralysis. The consequence of an attack on Iran, which the US would directly support only at its great peril, would be catastrophic for any future prospects of a Jewish State," as closed as that option is today simpy through the Jewish colonization process.

Attacking defenceless "Arabs" on the street, the constant drumbeat against Iran and Lebanon by Israel and the US--none of these is a sign of real power. These howls (bolstered by the clandestine war in Syria) reflect a rapidly diminishing range of choices for Israel's sponsors, whose calculations are compounded by the disastrous economic mire of the Western economic system in its entirety. Imagine, countries questioning the legitimacy of the West's endless domination of international financial institutions!

All these factors are linked. It's not all about Iran's "nuclear ambitions" or terrorism or even just oil.

I hate to say ligthten up, but what more can you expect from the citizens of a borderless state with a recognizable capital sixty years on--the last racial state in the world?

This event has neo-Nazi written all over it. Except that this group is much larger and more energetic than anything I've seen or heard about in Europe lately. They do remind me of the Slavic Union in Russia. Any connection there, maybe?