Teen From West Bank Settlement Charged in Abu Ghosh Hate Crime

18-year-old from Yitzhar indicted for June 2013 anti-Arab graffiti, tire-slashing incident.

An Abu Ghosh resident replaces his tires after they were slashed.
An Abu Ghosh resident replaces his tires after they were slashed. Emil Salman

An 18-year-old male from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar was charged on Sunday with perpetrating a hate crime in the mainly Arab town of Abu Ghosh in June of last year.

The defendant’s name is being withheld from publication because he was a minor when the offenses were committed. He was arrested two weeks ago, after police received intelligence implicating him in the incident. He was charged with slashing car tires and spraying anti-Arab messages on fences in the Jerusalem-area community. Police suspect the defendant did not act alone, but they have been unable to identify his accomplices and he has refused to give the police any names.

Prosecutors asked the court to order the defendant to remain in custody for the duration of proceedings.

According to the charge sheet, issued in the Jerusalem District Court, “The defendant and the others came by bus to the town of Kiryat Anavim, from which they walked to Abu Ghosh. At about 2:30 A.M., under cover of darkness, they came to Nataf Street in Abu Ghosh and wrote on a vehicle there. They also spray-painted the slogans ‘Racism or assimilation’ and ‘Arabs out’ on fences.”

They then slashed the tires of every car parked on the street – 34 in all, the charge sheet said.

The defendant was the latest of several individuals to be charged with hate crimes recently.

Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old boy from northern Israel was charged with vandalizing the Yokne’am clinic of a Druze dentist on May 7. The teen confessed to the crime. According to the charge sheet, at 3 A.M. on May 6 police officers had found the teen hiding in bushes near the Arab town of Fureidis. He told them he was being chased by people from the community, and made derogatory statements about Arabs as well as saying, “They’ll pay for this.” He later told investigators that was when he decided to damage Arab property.

A day before the 16-year-old was indicted, Adir Yosef, 26, of Yokne’am Ilit was charged with a series of hate crimes anti-Arab in that community and others nearby. Yosef was charged with vandalizing cars, illegal possession of a knife and using a vehicle to commit a crime.

In these cases as well, prosecutors requested that the suspects be held until the end of proceedings.