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Mayor: Abu Ghosh hate crime attack 'act of cowardice'

June 18, 2013 2:02 P.M. (Updated: June 21, 2013 9:58 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The mayor of the Palestinian Abu Ghosh village in West Jerusalem denounced Tuesday's "price tag" attack in the area as an "act of cowardice."

"They think they can scare us ... but the villagers endured artillery shelling and never left their village. We will live in Abu Ghosh -- which is a symbol of peace and coexistence -- until the end," Mayor Salim Jibril told Ma'an.

The tires of 28 cars were slashed in the village and racist graffiti was sprayed across buildings including "Arabs out" and "Discrimination or Assimilation," Israeli news site Ynet reported.

"We withstood military tanks and shelling, and we did not leave our village while 40 Palestinian villages were displaced in the area between Jerusalem and the Zaraqa Bridge near the Mediterranean coasts. So, will vandalism and slashing tires scare us out?" Jibril added.

The incident was a "price tag" response by Israeli settlers to the cabinet's approval of tougher sanctions on such crimes, according to the news site.

The so-called price tag attacks are carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinians to avenge what it considers "anti-settlement" policies by the Israeli government.

"This group wants to drag us into violence so they can tell their government that we (the Palestinian residents of Abu Ghosh) are extremists. However, we will face them with more steadfastness and more efforts to foster coexistence, education and development at all levels in the village," he added.

Jibril said several Knesset members visited the village to denounce the attack and show solidarity with residents.

Palestinian Israeli MK Ahmad Tibi condenmened the attack, describing the Israeli government as racist.

"A government which passes racist laws and refuses to declare 'price tag' gangs terrorist groups is an accomplice in all hatred and criminal acts in Abu Ghosh in particular and against the Arabs in general," Tibi said.

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