Palestinian hate crime victim slams 'racist' plea bargain

Posted at 01/16/13 10:16 PM

JERUSALEM - A Palestinian teenager brutally beaten in a hate attack by Jewish youths accused authorities of racism on Wednesday, after a court dropped assault charges against two of the alleged attackers.

"It's hard for me to understand," Jamal Julani, 17 at the time of the attack last August, told Israeli army radio. "They admitted hitting me and said they didn't regret it."

Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday approved a bargain plea under which the two, both minors, pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of incitement to racism and incitement to violence, according to court documents obtained by AFP.

"I feel it's racism by the Jews," Julani said. "The court is encouraging them to attack instead of punishing them."

The two were among nine suspects, including eight minors, charged with seriously injuring Julani, a Palestinian from east Jerusalem, on the night of August 16-17.

The Israeli government condemned the attack, which took place in Jerusalem's central Zion Square, a busy late-night meeting place in the heart of the city's bar and entertainment district.

Press reports said there were hundreds of onlookers who failed to intervene.