Imad Abu Sneineh is an Arab who no longer knows whom to fear most. The Palestinians are after him because his father sold property to a Jew, and now he has been knifed by a Jewish extremist.
"I never believed I would be stabbed by an Israeli," Abu Sneineh said Thursday as he recovered in the hospital. "I thought to myself tens of thousands of times that I may be stabbed by an Arab, because my father sold his home to Ariel Sharon."In fact, the house in Jerusalem's Moslem quarter was bought by a Jewish religious organization. Sharon, the hard-line former defense minister, moved in after Arab attackers killed two Israelis in the Moslem quarter December 1987.
Jewish real estate purchases from Arabs are shrouded in secrecy, and it is not known whether Sharon owns or rents the house.
Abu Sneineh, 31, lives across from Sharon with his wife and two young children, but it doesn't win him any privileges. He says police stop and search him every day.
Israelis say Arabs sell because they get good prices. But the leaders of the Palestinian uprising call them traitors.
Abu Sneineh says he saw no money from the sale, but he no longer dares to pray at the Al Aqsa mosque on Fridays, now that he has been denounced as a collaborator in a leaflet put out by uprising leaders.
He says friends have turned their backs and he wishes he could talk with Sharon.
"Maybe he would give us arms to protect ourselves from Arabs," he said.
Sharon's spokesman could not be reached for comment.
On Wednesday, Abu Sneineh was outside the butcher's shop where he worked in the ultra-religious Bukhran Quarter of Jewish west Jerusalem, waiting for his Jewish employer to close up and drive him home.
A religious Jew walked up and slashed him from shoulder to belly with a knife, he said.
"He always came to the store, to threaten Arabs, swore at the Arabs. But I didn't believe he would do something like this," he said. "I thought he wanted help, to ask prices. But he took out a knife and slashed me."
The employer, Mordecahi Mizrahi, tried to shield Abu Sneineh, and he too was hospitalized with stab wounds in his hands.
Police say the man attacked Abu Sneineh after Mizrahi refused his demands that he fire the Arab. The assailant said he was against Arabs working in Israel.