‘If they meet a Jew, they want to kill him,’ says German tourist attacked by Palestinian mob

“I really felt the hate in their eyes, and from the way they were acting…and they were throwing rocks, maybe double the size of my head.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A German tourist who was attacked by a violent mob after driving into a Palestinian Authority-controlled city in a car with Israeli license plates said that the incident has dramatically changed his view of the Palestinians and Israel’s security concerns.

Speaking to Hebrew-language media outlets Channel 12 and Kan, Gerald Hetzel said that he survived a “very, very dangerous situation” and that he and his travel companion “really thought” local Palestinians from Nablus “wanted to kill us.”

During the attack, “I really felt the hate in their eyes, and from the way they were acting,” Hetzel said. “And they were throwing rocks, maybe double the size of my head.”

After Nablus residents noticed that Hetzel was driving in an Israeli car, “young men came from taxis around us … and started to knock on our windows, to scream at us in Arabic,” he said.

“They were bringing stones and a traffic sign and throwing everything against the car. After one or two minutes they pulled out a knife and stabbed the wheels of the car, and also threatened my friend.”

Hetzel said he was surprised that the Palestinians would target visitors with European appearances.

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“I thought they were only targeting religious-looking Jews, not international tourists,” he said.

The incident “doesn’t change my entire view on Israel. I think Israel is a very friendly country,” he said.

However, the attack “definitely changes my view on the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria,” he said. He spoke about an interaction with Palestinian teenagers in Bethlehem on a previous visit to the region.

“They told me if they meet a Jew on the street, they want to kill him, just like that. And I think it’s a big problem, they have so much hate in their education.”

The German national also challenged the Palestinian Authority’s narrative about the event.

PA officials claimed that local security forces managed to hold back the violent mob. According to Hetzel, the Palestinian police were unable to control the attackers and simply told him to drive out of the city as fast as possible.

What really happened, Hetzel continued, is that an Arab-Israeli visiting Nablus recognized that he and his friend were tourists and helped guide them out of the city using side streets. He then gave them a ride back to Tel Aviv, as the tourists’ rental car was so damaged after the mob attack that they were unable to continue driving.

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In a media statement, a senior PA official stated that “we clearly have zero hostility toward a country whose citizens visit our cities.” Notably, the official stressed that German tourists should be safe in Nablus, but he did not express those sentiments regarding Jewish or Israeli visitors.

“A mob attacking tourists because they don’t like their license plate is disgusting and cowardly,” wrote Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, on Twitter shortly after the incident.