AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A Palestinian immigrant who smashed the windows of a kosher restaurant in the Dutch capital while holding his national flag said the attack was neither over Jerusalem nor anti-Semitic.
The 29-year-old man, who was not named, was arrested outside HaCarmel restaurant in southern Amsterdam by two police officers who watched him, along with passersby, shouting about Allah and Palestine while smashing the eatery’s windows, breaking inside and taking out the Israeli flag.
The incident was widely interpreted as a reaction to President Donald Trump’s declaration Wednesday that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel capital and will prepare to move its embassy there – an announcement that mobilized protesters in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as several other Muslim countries.
But police sources told Het Parool daily Friday that during questioning he did not mention the U.S. declaration. He also denied having any anti-Semitic sentiments, saying he vandalized the kosher restaurants, which is owned by Dutch Jews, to protest “the miserable reality in Palestine.”
The attack received extensive coverage in the Dutch media.
A dozen-odd lawmakers, including Han Ten Broeke of the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, on Thursday patronized the restaurant as a sign of solidarity and condemned it as an anti-Semitic incident.
The Palestinian is suspected of vandalism, which he admitted in his investigation. Prosecutors did not say yet whether they will recommend prosecuting him and if so, whether they would indict him for a hate crime.