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.
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
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
We know that neither the president nor the prime minister are
responsible for these phenomena. The responsibility lies with a group of
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.”