Nearly one year after an extensive “price tag” attack resulted in the slashed tires of 28 vehicles and racist graffiti in Abu Ghosh, police announced Sunday the arrests and indictments of two teenage suspects charged in the nationalistically motivated hate crime.
The incident, which took place during the early morning hours of June 18, 2013, made national headlines and rocked the peaceful village, located west of Jerusalem, which has long been heralded as a model of Jewish-Arab coexistence.
In addition to the spate of vandalized cars, the words “Racism or Assimilation” and “Arabs Out” were also painted on a wall near the crime scene.
One of the damaged cars belonged to former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg, who had left the vehicle with a friend for repairs.
According to police, both suspects – who have since turned 18 – are from the Yitzhar settlement, near Nablus, and were arrested on May 20 following a protracted undercover investigation by Israel Police.
While details of the investigation are under gag order, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said one of the two assailants was indicted at Jerusalem District Court on Sunday morning, while an indictment against the other suspect is imminent.
“This incident caused a lot of damage in relations between [Jews and Arabs],” said Rosenfeld.
“After a serious undercover investigation by police, a strong case has been built against the suspects.”
Both teenagers have remained in police custody since their May arrests. They will be charged as minors for incitement, damage to property and intention to cause damage to Arab-Israeli property, police said.
Rosenfeld said the ringleader, who was indicted on Sunday, has refused to cooperate with police since being apprehended.
Following the crime, residents of Abu Ghosh described the episode as “the first attack of its kind.”