'I Saw Blood All Over Me': Gangs of Israeli Vigilantes Roam Streets Attacking Palestinians
"Gas the Arabs" graffiti painted in Hebron.
Photo Credit: Magne Hagesæter/Wikimedia Commons
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Kafr Qassem, ISRAEL – Mousa Abu Ayadeh says that he expects anti-Arab discrimination in Israel. But he never imagined he would be the victim of a violent vigilante attack, as he was on June 30.
Abu Ayadeh told AlterNet he “was beaten and stabbed by ten Israeli men.” He suspects the crime was in retaliation for the killing of three Israeli youth who had been kidnapped on June 12 and were found dead just a few hours before he was attacked.
Around 1.7 million Palestinian citizens make up a minority in Israel and reside in cities, towns and villages across the country. Abu Ayadeh lives in Kafr Qassem, a town in Israel that hugs the West Bank border and is situated close to a number of Israeli settlements.
On June 30, the bodies of Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah, both 16 years old, and Gilad Shaer, 19, were discovered in a Palestinian village in the southern occupied West Bank after being reportedly shot by Palestinian militants. Since then, there have been numerous attacks by Israeli settlers and civilians against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Israel.
Abu Ayadeh ate a traditional dinner with his family around 8pm on Monday night to break the daily daytime fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. After eating and sitting with his parents, he decided to go for a bike ride.
“Like I always do, I passed through a roundabout past the main entrance of Kafr Qassem and near the settlement of Oranit,” Abu Ayadeh recalled. “Two cars full of men stopped and told me they were police and needed to speak to me.”
Ten men dressed in civilian clothing exited the cars and began to curse at and threaten him. “They said racist slurs about Arabs and cursed my mother and sisters,” Abu Ayadeh said. “Then they attacked me, kicking me and stabbing me. Once they left I saw blood all over me.”
Abu Ayadeh was taken by an ambulance for medical treatment at a local hospital, where he was hospitalized overnight, treated for bruising on his face and ribs and received 16 stitches for four stab wounds on the lower part of his body. Due to the injuries, doctors told Abu Ayadeh to stay home from work for a month.
After getting out of the hospital the following day, Abu Ayadeh went to the nearby town of Petah Tikvah to file a police report. Yet rather than being assisted, he accuses Israeli police and intelligence officers of interrogating him.
“The [police interrogators] accused me of having done something wrong first,” he said. “They said that I maybe owed someone money or that I had attacked someone in the past. I’ve never had problems with anyone in my whole life.”
Abu Ayadeh also says that Israeli intelligence officers repeatedly “asked if I carry weapons. I told the police and the intelligence [officers] to go check the traffic cameras in the roundabout where I was attacked… but they told me it didn’t seem to be anything other than personal problems and sent me home.”
When asked for a comment, Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said, “there is no indication any incidents in the area involved Jewish settlers.”
Jerusalem On Fire
That same night, shortly after the three Israeli youths' bodies were discovered, settlers reportedly attempted to kidnap nine-year-old Mousa Zaloom from the Shuafat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. When his mother tried to intervene to prevent one of the settlers from choking him, they began to beat her until onlookers arrived and caused them to flee.