- Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:05
A 15-year-old Jewish boy arrested on suspicion of being involved in what police have described as the "lynching" of 17-year-old Jamal Julani admitted to hitting the Palestinian teenager in court on Monday, and said, "For all I care, let him die. He's an Arab."
"He cursed my mother. He can die. A Jew can't go through Damascus Gate without getting stabbed. Everyone hit him, there were some 40 people there and all of them hit him," Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the boy said.
The 15-year-old is suspected by police to have been the first to strike Julani during the attack last Thursday night, kicking him in the chest and causing him to fall to the ground. When paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after the attackers ran away, Julani had no pulse and CPR and defibrillators had to be used for ten minutes before his heart restarted.
Advanced Staff Sergeant Shmuel Shenhav said on Sunday, "This was an extremely severe crime. Only a miracle saved him from death."
Two more teenagers were arrested over the incident on Monday, bringing the total number of arrests to seven, with more still expected to follow. The Jewish teenagers are all aged between 13 and 19, and include two girls aged 15 and 17
Jerusalem police official, Ronen Avnieli told Israeli media that police believe that prior to the attack one of the Jewish girls claimed to the rest of the group of teenagers that she had been raped by an Arab several weeks earlier. The boys in the group then decided to look for Arabs to beat up to avenge the girl, who has also been arrested.
Julani and his three cousins happened to be walking through Zion Square at that time. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the group shout insults at the four Palestinians before attacking them. Two of Julani's cousins told Haaretz that they had done nothing to provoke the attack.
Police also told Israeli media that hundreds of people had stood by while the attack took place and did nothing to stop it.
Julani is still recovering from the attack in Hadassah University Medical Center, Ein Karem. On Sunday a hospital spokeswoman said that the 17-year-old no longer needed to use a respirator and has been moved out of intensive care.