Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Sunday that two recent attacks on Arabs in Jerusalem and Gush Etzion were "hate crimes" and "terrorist acts," echoing a new view stated by the U.S. State Department.
Several Palestinian Authority Arabs were wounded, one seriously, on Thursday by a firebomb attack on their car west of the Gush Etzion junction, south of Jerusalem. One of those wounded said a “Jewish settler” carried out the attack on the highway, where almost all firebomb and rock attacks are carried out by Arabs against Jewish motorists.
In a separate incident, a gang of Jewish teenagers brutally beat up three Arabs in downtown Jerusalem, leaving one young man in critical condition. It is not known if the gang’s actions were nationalist or were a result of an attack by hooligan “bullies” on defenseless victims, regardless of their background.
Ya’alon called the attacks “outrageous” and against Jewish morals.
The U.S. State Department recently wrote in its annual report on terror that Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria who carry out “price tag” revenge attacks on Arabs are guilty of “terrorist incidents.”
The report detailed several attacks, including mosque arson and vandalism at Muslim cemeteries. Virtually every nationalist leader has condemned violence by civilians against Arabs, but no one has been apprehended in those attacks, so that their source is not certain.
Following Thursday’s firebombing of the Arab vehicle in Gush Etzion, the government issued an unprecedented response that it would hunt down the perpetrators. The urgency and intensity of the statement sharply contradicted the generally silent or passive reactions to daily Palestinian Authority Arab rock throwing and firebombing attacks on Jewish motorists throughout Judea and Samaria and sometimes near Israel’s urban centers.
The State Dept., which never responds to Arab attacks on Jews unless the incident results in deaths, expressed its “deepest sympathies to the victims, among them children, and we hope for their speedy recovery. We note that the government of Israel has also condemned this heinous attack and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice. We look to Israeli law enforcement officials to do so expeditiously. We urge all parties to avoid any actions that could lead to an escalation of violence.”
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas charged that the “Israeli occupation army” offers “protection” to Jews who carry out violent acts against Arabs.