The Israel Police rejected allegations on Wednesday that police officers had seen the attempted lynching of Arab youths by Jewish teens in Jerusalem last week and had chosen not to intervene.
Last Thursday, a group of Jewish teens allegedly attacked three Arabs late at night near the city's Zion Square. One of the victims was beaten so badly that he lost consciousness and required intensive medical care.
The police recounted that shortly after 11 p.m. they fielded a call from an Arab man alerting the police to an attack. The dispatcher said that the matter would be handled, and sent a police unit to the scene. Five minutes later, the same Arab man called again, and when asked whether an emergency medical team was needed, said no. According to the police, the dispatcher notified him that a police unit was on its way.
The Arab caller, who works near the scene of the attack, said Wednesday that the police officer who arrived chose not to intervene when he saw that the brawl was among teens. But the officer, detective Sgt. Maj. Yonatan Ben-Ezra, who arrived at the scene at 11:27 p.m., according to police records, recounted that "when we got there we combed the area but we didn't see a thing. We stayed at the scene even though we saw no disturbance."
Investigations revealed that the attackers had fled the scene before the arrival of the police, and followed the Arab victims to the nearby Zion Square. There, at midnight, some 40 minutes after the brawl erupted, the attackers began beating Jamal Julani. Police then received multiple calls and sent additional officers to the scene.
The remand of two of the suspects was extended on Wednesday.
Though the incident has already been condemned by the prime minister and president and countless other prominent Israeli officials, the condemnations continued on Wednesday, with Police Commissioner Insp. Gen. Yohanan Danino making his first public statement on the subject, saying "the lynch in Jerusalem was the most severe and contemptible act imaginable in a democratic law-abiding country."
Speaking at a conference on education in Holon, the commissioner said, "The Israel Police has not and will not spare any resources in solving these violent crimes and bringing the culprits to justice."
The U.S. State Department also condemned the incident in a statement, saying "Discriminatory acts of violence undermine and discredit efforts toward peace and security between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The statement also welcomed “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unequivocal condemnation of racism and violence and his call for a full police investigation.”