Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 13, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli President Shimon Peres traveled on Monday to the northern city of Acre where he appealed for tolerance after four days of clashes between Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish residents. "I was surprised by the extent of appeals for peaceful coexistence issued by leaders from both sides," the Israeli politician told journalists.

"We are destined to live side by side, and a bright future awaits Acre," said Peres, who was accompanied by Interior Security Minister Avi Dichter and Israel's two chief rabbis, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar.

The four nights of clashes in the ethnically mixed Israeli city left at least three injured people requiring hospitalization.

Israeli police said that the clashes broke out on Wednesday when a Palestinian resident drove through a conservative Jewish neighborhood with music playing on his car stereo.

A group of Jewish youths assaulted the driver, accusing him of deliberately making noise and disrupting the sanctity of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when most Jews in Israel observe a religious ban on driving.

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets after learning of the assault on the driver, damaging around 100 cars and 40 shops, according to the police.

In the ensuing days Jewish and Palestinian rioters clashed with each other and with police.

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, the descendants of those who remained in what became the Jewish state after the 1948 war that followed its creation, make up around 20 percent of the Israeli population.


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