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Mob attacks 2 Palestinians in West Jerusalem

July 24, 2014 2:45 P.M. (Updated: July 25, 2014 8:38 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A mob assaulted two Palestinians as they were walking on the trendy Jaffa street in the center of West Jerusalem on Thursday, their lawyer said, potentially the latest in a string of hate attacks targeting Arabs across Israel in recent weeks.

The two Palestinians -- who were identified as Amir Mazin Abu Eisha, 20, and Laith Ubeidat -- were injured and subsequently arrested by police, who reportedly said they had threatened people in the crowd "with knives."

The lawyer for the two Palestinians, Khaldun Nijim, told Ma'an that the two were surrounded by around 20-30 Jewish passerby as they were distributing bread at grocery shops on Jaffa street, the central thoroughfare of West Jerusalem.

After Jewish passerby began verbally and physically assaulting them, he added, "The Israeli police stopped them in their van and pointed guns at them" while the mob "beat them with empty bottles."

"After they drove away a few meters, the police shot at them. They then stopped and were assaulted again."

The two sustained injuries in the assault and were detained by Israeli police, who transferred them to the nearby Russian compound police station for "having a knife and obstructing the work of the police."

An ambulance was called for Abu Eisha to treat his head and ear injuries, but he was prevented from being taken to a hospital for treatment.

Nijim added that a number of members of the mob filed a complaint against the two for "attempting to attack them with a knife," but he insisted that he planned to file a complaint against the mob and the police officer.

The pair were bailed out and sentenced for 10 days of house arrest.

An Israeli police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Cities across Israel have witnessed a string of attacks against Palestinians in recent months, as a "price tag" crime wave that targeted Palestinians inside Israel for perceived slights against Jewish settlements in the West Bank has evolved into recurring mob attacks and anti-Arab rallies.

In recent weeks, Palestinian passerby have been repeatedly assaulted on Jerusalem's Jaffa street, and one video that showed a young boy being surrounded and assaulted by dozens was shared repeatedly on social media.

Jaffa street has been covered with flyers warning Arabs not to "touch" Jewish women in recent weeks, as part of a right-wing Jewish campaign to prevent mixing among Jews and Arabs.

Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20 percent of Israel's population.

In Jerusalem, however, the majority of Palestinians are not Israeli citizens but residents of Jerusalem who fell under Israeli military occupation in 1967 but unlike West Bank Palestinians were given permanent residency cards entitling them to certain benefits.
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