17-year-old resident of East Jerusalem nearly killed in "Death to Arabs" attack by mob of teens in West Jerusalem

The Times of Israel has published the first photo of the worst-injured victim in Thursday night’s “Death to Arabs” attack in central West Jerusalem — Jamal Julani, a 17-year-old Palestinian resident of Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem.  In other words, he is a minor — legally, a child [as, apparently, are some of those who attack him.  He was very nearly killed — when Magen David Adom rescue team arrived, they found him without a pulse and not breathing.  It took a long time to rescusitate him, and he was hospitalized in intensive care.

Times of Israel - photo by Oren Nahshon/Flash90

Though now out of a coma, Jamal Julani is still in critical condition in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in West Jerusalem, and was reported earlier Sunday to be still on a respirator.  He is shown in the photo above, published by The Times of Israel, here, with his mother at his bedside.

The Times of Israel reported Sunday that “A representative of the police at the remand hearing on Sunday described Julani’s injuries and claimed that it was a miracle that he survived the attack. He added that the case will take time to investigate fully, because there were many suspects and ‘hundreds of witnesses’.”

The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said “The area is under video surveillance; we are checking the cameras … We will know what happened after we check the cameras”. This is posted here.

Both the JPost and the Times of Israel are now reporting that 5 suspects have now been arrested — one is 19 years old and the others are all minors, including one girl.

The story drew attention on Friday when Haaretz reporter Nir Hassoon excerpted a description of the attack by one of the witnesses, who wrote on her Facebook page [apparently, in Hebrew]: “It’s late at night, and I can’t sleep,” she wrote. “My eyes have been filled with tears for a good few hours now … [T]oday I saw a lynching with my own eyes, in Zion Square, the center of Jerusalem … “Dozens (!!) of youths ran and gathered and started to really beat to death three [sic] Arab youths who were walking quietly on Ben Yehuda Street. When one of the Palestinians fell to the floor [ground], they continued to kick him in the head, he lost consciousness, his eyes rolled, his angled head twitched, and then [the perpetrators] fled and the rest gathered in a circle, with some still shouting with hate in their eyes. When we returned to the area … two teens stood there who did not understand why we wanted to give a bottle of water to the cousin of the victim. ‘He is an Arab, and they don’t need to walk around in the center of the city, and they deserve it, because this way they will finally be afraid.’ … Children aged 15-18 are killing a child their own age with their own hands. Really with their own hands. Children whose hearts were unmoved when they beat to death a boy their age who lay writhing on the floor”.

    This FaceBook description of Thursday night’s “Death to the Arabs” attack was originally written in Hebrew. Israel has adopted the English-language word “lynch” in its entirety, pronunciation included, and spell the word in Hebrew letters. But, it does not mean exactly the same thing as the English-language original, which is resonant with specific meaning referring to events that took place over decades, and even over hundreds of years, in specific geographic locations. In Israel, when you say the word “lynch”, the first thing Israelis think of is what happened to three IDF soldiers who got lost during the early days of the strong fighting in the Second Palestinian Intifada — they were taken to a Palestinian police station in Ramallah, where they should have been protected. Instead, they were beaten to death by an out-of-control mob, and one of the dead bodies was thrown out a window and fell a couple of stories to the ground. The out-of-control mob is one of the few things that this “Death to the Arabs” attack has in common with the original English-language meaning of “lynching”…

    The use of the word “lynching” in the eyewitnesses description was picked up by the Haaretz editor, who used it in the title of the initial stunning report — and it was used as a kind of shorthand in almost every other Israeli report, and also by Israelis writing in English on Twitter…but, the nuance changes in Hebrew.

    UPDATE: Haaretz reported on Monday morning here that “After initially treating the event as a brawl, police on Sunday for the first time referred to the attack on Palestinian youths by dozens of Jewish teens in Jerusalem early last Friday as a ‘lynching’.”

    According to Haaretz, “Sergeant First Class Shmuel Shenhav defined the attack as a lynch, and said: ‘The victim lost his consciousness and was thought to be dead until a Magen David Adom [emergency paramedic] crew arrived and resuscitated him. He was anesthetized and on a respirator in the hospital for days. This was an extremely severe crime. Only a miracle saved him from death’.”

    This Haaretz report notes that “A police representative told the Magistrate’s Court that hundreds of people watched the event without helping the victims. Witnesses say the attack lasted a short while before police arrived and the attackers fled”.

    Also according to Haaretz, the brother of one of the five suspects, four of whom are minors, “said outside the court that it was the four Arab youths who had provoked passersby and ‘made passes at Jewish girls’. He added: ‘Why should an Arab make passes at my sister? They shouldn’t be here, it’s our area. For what other reason would they come here if not to make passes at Jewish girls?’ ”

    Morbid obsession by a dominant social group with the supposed sexual prowess of a rather powerless minority, including accusations whether true or trumped-up of a display of sexual interest in the dominant group’s women is something else that this crime has in common with the historic crimes of “lynching”.

Hassoon reported earlier in Haaretz here that Jamal was with three of his cousins. One told Hassoon that When paramedics from Magen David Adom and the volunteer EMS organization Ichud Hatzalah arrived on the scene, Jamal was not breathing and had no pulse, and “They told me he died. His whole face was blue”.

The JPost reported that “Amir Edri, a Magen David Adom paramedic from the intensive care division, was notified of the attack at 12:10 a.m. on Friday …“When we arrived we saw a man about 20 years old [n.b. – Jamal is 17] on the ground with no pulse,” Edri said. Edri took over lifesaving measures from United Hatzalah medics who were first on the scene. After about 10 minutes of intensive CPR and the use of defibrillators, the man’s pulse returned. He was taken to Hadassah University Medical Center, Ein Kerem, in critical but stable condition. Edri said the Arab man had suffered a strong blow to the head but he did not see any marks of weapons such as knives. On Friday, the man was still on a respirator but did not seem to be suffering from lasting brain damage or internal injuries, Edri added”.

An earlier photo published in an Israeli newspaper was posted by @Dustbowl__Pal on Twitter, here:
Photo via <strong>@Dustbowl_Pal</strong> on Twitter

According to Haaretz’ Hassoon, one of Jamal’s cousins, Mohammed Mujahad, said on Saturday that “There were four of us … We were walking and suddenly maybe 50 Jews came toward us shouting, ‘Arabs Arabs.’ I don’t understand what they said. They weren’t calling us. They were just generally shouting” … Another of Jamal’s cousin, Nuaman Julani, said “We walked slowly, so there wouldn’t be trouble … Suddenly one of them said to Jamal, ‘What are you doing, you son of a bitch?’ Jamal tried to flee, but [the attacker] whacked him in the chest and [Jamal] fell with his head on the floor [ground]’.”

Hassoon added that “According to another eyewitness, the group of teenagers appeared to be hunting for Arab victims, calling out ‘Death to Arabs’ and other anti-Arab slurs”.

Hassoon added that Jamal’s mother “told Haaretz that he has woken from his coma but is very confused, did not remember the assault and did not understand why he was in the hospital”.

There have been a number of attacks reportedly involving Jewish teenagers in the same area, between Independence Park and Zion Square, and usually on Thursday nights or other holidays.

The JPost noted that “In August 2010, a group of drunk teenagers beat a homeless man to death with a wooden plank in the same area, also late on a Thursday night. During the investigation, one of the teenagers said that the victim, Israeli-American Lance Wolf, 60 [n.b. – a homeless man], had refused to give them a cigarette”. The JPost does not say what punishment the attackers received…

Also last week, there was a molotov cocktail thrown, apparently by an Israeli settler at a Palestinian taxi in the southern West Bank, badly burning six of the passengers, including a 4-year old boy, and his brother. Photos of these firebombing victims are posted by Active Stills, here.

These victims are being treated in an Israeli hospital, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken twice to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in recent days about the gravity of the attack, and has condemned this violence — as has the U.S. State Departmen, “in the strongest possible terms” .

Neither Netanyahu nor the U.S. State Department has yet spoken of the attack on Jamal Julani [nor, for that matter, has Mahmoud Abbas].

Earlier on Sunday, however, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon apparently condemned “last week’s hate crimes” as “terrorist attacks”.

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