Ten to Face Charges in Assault of East Jerusalem Arabs

Attack was worst of several incidents over the past several weeks in which Jerusalem Palestinians were harassed or assaulted by Jews in what are considered hate crimes.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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One of the wounded in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem in Jerusalem.
One of the wounded in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem in Jerusalem.
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Ten suspects, including three minors, are to be indicted Monday in the July 25 beating of two young Palestinian men in Jerusalem.

Amir Shweiki and Samer Mahfouz, both 20, from Beit Hanina, were in the area between the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina and the Jewish neighborhood of Neveh Ya’akov, in northern Jerusalem, when they were attacked without prior provocation. They were severely beaten with iron bars and baseball bats. Shweiki was injured seriously, and is still hospitalized in the neurosurgery department at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Mahfouz sustained mild injuries in the attack, but he was readmitted to the hospital last week after his condition worsened.

“A man came from the direction of Neveh Ya’akov,” Mahfouz told Haaretz after the attack. “He said, ‘Give me a cigarette.’ I told him I don’t have any, and he heard I’m Arab and went away, coming back with his friends, maybe 12 people. They had sticks and iron bars and they started hitting us hard over the head.”

Three of the 10 suspects, who were arrested by the Jerusalem Police’s Nationalist Crime Unit, are minors. Other arrests are expected, the police said.

The attack on Mahfouz and Shweiki was the worst of several incidents over the past several weeks in which Palestinians in Jerusalem have been harassed or assaulted by Jews in what are considered hate crimes. Taxi drivers have been beaten or sprayed with tear gas, passengers on the city’s light rail have been harassed and passersby have been assaulted verbally and physically.

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