Israeli vice premier Moshe Ya’alon has condemned two attacks by Jews on Palestinians over the weekend, labelling them as “terrorism”.
In downtown Jerusalem’s Zion Square on Thursday night, a crowd of Jewish teenagers beat up three Arab youths, leaving one 17-year-old on the brink of death.
Hours earlier, a Palestinian taxi carrying six members of the same family was hit by a Molotov cocktail outside the settlement of Bat Ayin, an attack police suspect was carried out by Jewish extremists.
“These are terrorist attacks,” Mr Ya’alon said Sunday. “They run contrary to Jewish morality and values, and constitute first and foremost an educational and moral failure.”
As of Monday, two members of the Jayada family remained in a serious condition in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital suffering from severe burns.
On Friday morning, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu sent a message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in which he said he views the Molotov cocktail attack as “very serious” and vowed that Israel would do whatever it could to bring those responsible to justice. Mr Netanyahu also called Mr Abbas the following night and promised to find the perpetrators, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
In a statement on Friday, the US State Department expressed sympathy for the Jayada family, saying: “We note that the government of Israel has also condemned this heinous attack and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice. We look to Israeli law enforcement officials to do so expeditiously. We urge all parties to avoid any actions that could lead to an escalation of violence.”
Also on Saturday, the State Department released its annual Country Report on Terrorism which referred to violence by settlers against Palestinians as terrorism. The report cited three “price tag” attacks on mosques in Israel and the West Bank in its “terrorist incidents” section.
Though no arrests connected to the Bat Ayin attack have been reported, by Monday morning seven teenagers were in custody for the Zion Square beating. One of them, a 13-year-old, showed no remorse, telling reporters as he entered the courtroom that if he had it to do over again “I’d murder him.”