Vice PM Ya'alon: Settler Attacks Against Arabs in West Bank, Jerusalem Are 'Terrorist Acts'

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon says the attacks – a fire-bomb hurled at a Palestinian taxi near the settlement of Bat Ayin and a suspected lynching in downtown Jerusalem - run contrary to Jewish values.

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Sunday that the fire-bomb attack on a Palestinian taxi on Thursday, in which six people were wounded, was "a terrorist attack." He also condemned the suspected Jerusalem lynching of three Palestinian youths on Friday in downtown Jerusalem.

"The hate crimes committed over the weekend against Arabs in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem are intolerable, outrageous and must be firmly dealt with," he said in a statement released by his office.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent reassuring messages to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following the fire-bomb attack in the West Bank.

Six Palestinians, all members of the same family, were wounded after a taxi caught fire while driving by the al-Arub refugee camp near the settlement of Bat Ayin. According to a police statement, sweeps of the area revealed a second fire bomb ready to be hurled.

Out of fear that the incident would spark violence in the West Bank, Netanyahu's envoy Yitzhak Molcho phoned Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Molcho told the Palestinian officials that Netanyahu had ordered Israel's security forces to do everything in their power to locate and arrest whoever was responsible for the attack.

Also on Saturday, a 19-year-old man was arrested in connection with the brutal and apparently unprovoked attack against four young Palestinians in downtown Jerusalem. The attack was allegedly perpetrated by dozens of Jewish teens, whom eyewitnesses say were wandering around the area "searching" for Arabs to beat up.

Jamal Julani, one of the victims of the attack, remains in serious condition, according to authorities. Julani, 17, from Jerusalem's Ras al Amud neighborhood, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, in critical condition and is on a respirator. His mother told Haaretz that he has woken from his coma but is very confused, did not remember the assault and did not understand why he was in the hospital.

"These are terrorist attacks," Ya'alon said Sunday. "They run contrary to Jewish morality and values, and constitute first and foremost an educational and moral failure."

Palestinian taxi cab that caught fire near Bat Ayin, August, 16, 2012Credit: Israel Police
Moshe Ya'alon.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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