Peres visits Abu Ghosh to slam 'price tag' vandalism

President pays solidarity visit to village one week after country was shocked to learn of mass vandalism in alleged 'price tag' hit.

President Shimon Peres meets Abu Ghosh Mayor Abu Jaber 370 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres meets Abu Ghosh Mayor Abu Jaber 370
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres condemned last week’s price-tag attack in Abu Ghosh, while at the same time praising the residents of the Israeli-Arab town during a solidarity visit on Monday.
“I come in the name of the people of Israel to not only condemn this act of terror but to praise the people of Abu Ghosh for the pride they bring to Israel,” said Peres, who was distressed by the vandalism, in which the tires of 28 cars were slashed, and by the anti-Arab message sprayed on a nearby wall.
Peres, who was busy with his “Facing Tomorrow” conference last week when the incident occurred, had phoned Abu Ghosh Council head Salim Jaber to express his concern and to voice his condemnation of the incident. But on Monday, he arrived in the town near Neveh Ilan off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway and visited with the Abu Hamze family, who own eight of the 28 vehicles whose tires were slashed by the vandals.
Turning to the head of the family, Peres said the State of Israel will not tolerate such outrageous behavior and that he hoped that the culprits will be apprehended and punished.
He had spoken to Israel Police head Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino, he said, and had asked him to intensify the effort to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice so that they could be punished.
“Abu Ghosh is flesh of our flesh. We are all one people and this hurts us no less than it hurts you,” Peres told the Abu Hamze family. At the same time he urged that the incident should not disrupt mutual trust.
“We must continue to live together in peace coexistence,” said Peres.
Both Jaber and a member of the Abu Hamze family assured him that in this respect he had nothing to fear from the residents of Abu Ghosh.
“Our parents taught us to walk in the path of peace and to live as good neighbors in coexistence,” said Jaber. “We are brothers in blood and in faith. We are all the children of Abraham our patriarch.
We know that neither the president nor the prime minister are responsible for these phenomena. The responsibility lies with a group of fanatics.”
Journalists asked the Abu Hamze family whether the incident would create a rift between them and their Jewish neighbors. The spontaneous reply was “no.”
“We know that this was done by an isolated group of fanatics,” a family member told Peres. “Your condemnation of the incident has helped to strengthen our resolve.”