When Abu Ghosh kindergarten teacher Safa Utman stepped out of her home on Nataf
Street on Tuesday morning, she found that all of her family’s cars’ tires had
been slashed, leaving her with no way to get to work.
“We were shocked by
the incident. I needed to get to work at the school in Ein Rafa, but wasn’t able
to. Thirty- five children waited for me at work today, but I couldn’t come,” she
said as she leaned against the deflated tire, clutching her car
Police found a total of 28 cars vandalized vehicles and offensive
graffiti yesterday in Abu Ghosh, an Arab village west of Jerusalem renowned for
its model of coexistence and amity with nearby Jewish towns. The vandalism is
the alleged work of rightwing Jewish extremists, or “price-tag”
“This is the first attack of its kind,” said Dib Ali Uthman, a
veteran resident of Abu Ghosh, as he peered down into the valley at the
village’s heart. “Though there was something else during [Meir] Kahane’s day,
when they wrote on the outside of a café, ‘Abu Ghosh residents: don’t go out
with Jewish girls,’ and Geula Cohen said to Kahane, ‘don’t talk about our Abu
Ghosh like that.’” Dib, who also goes by the Hebrew name of Dov, is a friendly
79-year old who seems to be something of a village fixture.
Abu Ghosh has
been on famously amicable terms with Zionist leaders since the early 20th
century, which is why many residents are dumbfounded by the attacks.
the moment when the Jewish nation was weak, Abu Ghosh helped the Jews, during
1948 and before,” Dib continued as he gestured toward the Hebrew graffiti that
read “Racism or Assimilation” and “Arabs out,” and laughed
Local mechanic Ibrahim Suleiman discovered the graffiti
on the wall in front of his home at 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday, and soon realized that
three of his cars’ tires had been slashed. A close friend of Avraham Burg, he
noted that the former Knesset speaker’s car, parked in front of his house, had
also been vandalized.
“It’s hard to describe how I felt,” he said. “It’s
something horrifying. I’m in trauma right now.”
Though optimistic about
future prospects for coexistence in the region, he doubts the motives of the
government, which has not reached out to assist him in removing the
“There is of course a connection between the political
far-right and these attacks.
The state is strengthening them, giving them
And instead of calling them terrorists, they just call them
‘disorderly youths,’” Suleiman said, referring to the unknown Jewish
“I could find 40 ‘disorderly youths’ on this street, but they
wouldn’t do something like this.”
Residents reported that by midday,
camera crews from around the world had filled the village’s winding streets in
pursuit of details about the attacks. But seeking a return to normalcy, locals
were more concerned with repairing their damaged vehicles.
was flooded with dozens of garage mechanics, who are working on the tires now.
The car is the right hand of every citizen,” said Mayor Salim Jaber during a
survey of the damage on Tuesday.
Arsan Abd al-Rahman, a candidate for the
local council who reports that the attacks will cost his family over NIS 3,000,
believes the incident will negatively influence future relations between Jews
and Arabs in the historically peaceful village.
“People are going to
become more cautious,” he said. “Every time we see a Jewish family here
traveling in Abu Ghosh, we sit down together – but now we might become a bit
more reserved. Every time someone comes in a car at night, they’ll be asked,
‘What are you doing? Why are you here?’ It’ll take some time to
But Abu Ghosh residents are determined to keep their bucolic
village a place of peace.
“There are those who don’t like normalcy or
coexistence,” said Suleiman, the owner of the vandalized wall.
don’t think it’s worth it, so they want to stir up some noise.
they’ll never be stronger than us,” Suleiman continued, smiling as the dust from
a moving car clouded his eyes. “We’ll never be weak because of 28 tires. Believe
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