Two Israelis indicted for 'racist' ransacking of Palestinian coffee shop

Videos of the attack showed customers getting up from their tables and fleeing to the back of the shop as the Jewish men wearing face masks entered with steel rods and clubs.

 Huwara (photo credit: Anan Odeh/Wikimedia)
Huwara
(photo credit: Anan Odeh/Wikimedia)

Two Jewish Israelis were indicted in Petah Tikvah’s District Court for their “racist” ransacking attack against a Palestinian coffee shop in the West Bank village of Huwara in May.

One of the men, 29, is from the settlement of Elon Moreh and the other, 22, is from Jerusalem. They were accompanied by two minors.

The attack was caught on video and widely circulated. It showed customers jumping up from their tables and fleeing to the back of the shop as the two men wearing face masks entered with steel rods and clubs. They swung the rods, breaking table tops and a glass wall, before leaving.

They also destroyed NIS 20,000 worth of hookahs and associated paraphernalia.

The indictment accused the men of deliberately vandalizing Palestinian property out of “racist” and “nationalist” motives.

 Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces near the Huwara checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Nablus on March 2, 2018 (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90) Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces near the Huwara checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Nablus on March 2, 2018 (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

The men, the prosecution said, were driving along the town’s main thoroughfare when they believed that they saw a Palestinian give them the finger and decided to retaliate. Evidence found on their phones linked them to the attack and also included derogatory statements about Palestinians in the town and their anger at the sight of Palestinian flags.

The prosecution has asked that the assailants be jailed until the end of the proceedings, to ensure that they are not involved in any further violent incidents.

In January a convoy of settlers under army escort vandalized shops and Palestinian vehicles.

Route 60, the main thoroughfare for the West Bank, runs through Huwara. Both Palestinians and Israelis use that road. Israelis also shop in the village.

Settler stabs Palestinian to death

On Tuesday, the anti-settler group Yesh Din said that a settler stabbed a Palestinian man to death during a land dispute near the town of Iskaka, close to Ariel. However, as of press time, police had confirmed neither his death nor whether the attacker was Israeli or Palestinian.

Yesh Din said that the stabbing occurred during an altercation sparked by settler attempts to erect a fence on Palestinian land.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA, identified the man as Ali Hassan Harb, 27.