A 15-year-old Jewish boy, suspected of being involved in the beating of a 17-year-old Arab youth in Jerusalem last week, testified at his remand hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Monday, admitting his involvement in the incident but expressing no remorse for his actions.
"Yes, I was there," said the boy, who police suspect was the first of the group to strike the victim. "He insulted my mom. So I caught him and beat him. I hit him and I hope he gets it again. I hope he dies. You can't go by Damascus Gate without getting stabbed. So why do they come here? I beat him and I'd beat him again."
There are a total of nine people being investigated so far, including two females. Police detained four suspects Monday morning, and four others were being remanded, including a 13-year-old boy, a 15-year-old boy, a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. In addition, one 19-year-old Jerusalem resident arrested on Saturday afternoon was remanded Sunday at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
Police were still expecting additional arrests in the incident that shocked the capital, in which eyewitnesses claimed that dozens of Jewish youth beat Jamal Julani almost to death.
Deputy police commander of the Lev Habira station Ronen Avniely said "the event started on Thursday night in Kikar Hatulot." Police believe one of the teenage girls incited the rest of her group to attack Arabs by speaking about a sexual relationship she had with an Arab. "They were looking to hurt an Arab," Avniely said. He added that the suspects had given them a number of different versions of the events. Some claimed that the Arabs were harassing them.
Police also said that the victim Juliani had a heart defect, which could have been one of the reasons he was so injured as a result of the beating attack. Avnieli added that they believe around 10 Jewish teenagers attacked him, though there were many more witnesses, and that the "teenagers intended to beat Juliani to death."
National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said "Police are patrolling the entire area of downtown Jerusalem and they arrived on the scene within two minutes."
The attack took place just after midnight on Thursday night in Zion Square. Eyewitnesses said approximately two dozen Jewish teenagers surrounded Julani and began beating him, continuing to kick him even after he fell unconscious to the ground.
Paramedics who arrived on the scene found Julani unresponsive and with no pulse.
They used CPR and defibrillators for more than 10 minutes before his pulse returned and evacuated him in critical but stable condition to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
Police created a special investigative team to deal with the incident and expect additional arrests in the coming days.
Julani’s situation improved on Sunday and he is no longer unconscious nor connected to a respirator, according to a spokeswoman for the Hadassah University Medical Center. He is awake and responsive and was moved out of the intensive care unit to a regular floor, the spokeswoman added.
Julani’s parents, from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras el-Amud, told Israel Radio that their son was a “victim of terror” and called on the police to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice with the same intensity that they would if the victim were Jewish.
A crowd of 200 people demonstrated on Saturday night in Zion Square to show their disgust with the incident with the Bright Tag anti-racism forum.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report