Three Palestinians employed as street cleaners by the Jerusalem Municipality were attacked with a knife and tear gas in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol on Sunday. They allege that the attackers were Jews and that the incident was entirely unprovoked.
Police have arrested one suspect in the case, and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon has condemned the attack.
The three employees, Majd Fasfoos, Amir Dibs and Ezz el-Din Mohammed Ali, are residents of the Shoafat refugee camp in the city and are assigned to a maintenance crew that works in Ramat Eshkol. Fasfus said three Jews approached them and asked him and his colleagues to come with them. “I thought they were from the police, and I asked to see identification, but they started beating me up,” he said.
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At that point, Fasfoos said, his two associates tried to intervene and the assailants sprayed them with tear gas, after which one assailant pulled a knife and cut Fasfoos on the head. He was taken to Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus, where doctors stitched his wound.
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Fasfoos’ account of the incident was recorded by Zakariya al-Halawa, a researcher from the Israeli organization Ir Amim, which seeks to promote equitable policy for Palestinians in the city. Shortly afterwards, the police arrested a young Jewish man and launched a search for additional suspects. Mayor Leon’s office released a statement in which he condemned “violence of any kind towards any group, and certainly towards municipal employees who were faithfully doing their job for the city and its residents.”
The mayor called on the police to show “zero tolerance for any manifestation of violence.”