For the second time in a week, a monument to the murdered East Jerusalem teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir has been vandalized.
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The monument, at the site where the 16-year-old’s body was found in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2, was built last Tuesday by several dozen residents of Beit Zayit and Jerusalemites, who spontaneously organized the memorial. They held a service at the site, built the monument from surrounding rocks and placed flower garlands on it in memory of the murdered Shoafat youth.
The memorial was built over the charred piece of land on which Abu Khdeir was burned alive by his murderers. Three people have been detained on suspicion of killing the boy for nationalistic motives.
The memorial was initially vandalized by unknown assailants the same day it was built. “Somebody used no small amount of strength to destroy it,” said Yoav Laff, a Beit Zayit resident and one of the monument’s initiators.
Two days later, on Thursday, members of the Hoar HaOved VeHalomed and Dror Israel youth movements rebuilt the site and held another short service in Abu Khdeir’s memory.
From a visit to the site on Saturday, it appears that somebody has again vandalized the monument, removed some of the rocks that form it and scattered the flower garlands.
Meanwhile, there are renewed reports of attacks on Arabs, and politically inspired attacks in Jerusalem. On Thursday, an Arab bus driver was attacked in the city, and on Saturday a politically inspired fight broke out between Jews – one of whom said there are some innocent Arabs and was then hit by a bottle and hospitalized.
Other witnesses report that groups of right-wing activists and teenagers continue to roam the city center shouting “Death to the Arabs,” looking for Arabs to assault. Left-wing organizations in the capital have organized several teams whose aim is to protect Palestinian passersby, alleging that the police has been negligent in dealing with the phenomenon.
Attorney Avner Pinchuk of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has written to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, demanding that he instructs the police to aggressively counter the problem. “We find it difficult to imagine a situation in which a group of Arab ruffians roamed a city in which Jews live and work, shouting ‘Death to the Jews,’ and the police offers them an escort as long as they don’t physically attack Jews. The different behavior in the case of Arab rioters gives the impression of police patronage, and for that reason it must be prevented,” Pinchuk wrote.