February 9, 2024

Palestinian migrant who arrived via Mexico allegedly beat homeowner over his support for Israel

Michael Ruiz | Fox News

A 26-year-old Palestinian migrant is facing hate crime charges in New York after police say he stole a homeowner's U.S. and Israeli flags out of his yard and then beat the man to the ground while yelling antisemitic slurs.

"These are not the type of people who come to America like my great-grandparents did, like your great-grandparents and grandparents and parents who came to America to kiss the ground," Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman told reporters Tuesday.

"Instead, they spit on our flag, they trample on our values and they commit crimes. And they do so at taxpayer expense."

Bechir Lehbeib, 26, told police he is a Palestinian from North Africa and gave two New York City migrant shelters as his address. He entered the U.S. at the Mexican border in Arizona over the summer and claimed to be seeking asylum, authorities said

"The Nassau County Police Department and District Attorney Donnelly have a unique approach for the metropolitan area," Blakeman told Fox News Digital. "We make the arrest, we bring the charges and we demand justice against foreign invaders who have no respect for America and religious freedom."

While Lehbeib claimed to be looking for work at the time of the attack Sunday afternoon, video shows him walking through a residential neighborhood before he took a flag and a banner out of someone's yard.

Police said he allegedly took issue with a sign that said "I stand with Israel" and a combination U.S.-Israeli flag.

The homeowner caught up with him down the block and tried to regain his property. Video shows violence broke out immediately.

"When he approached and confronted the subject, he was met with an overhead right cross to his head," said Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Smith. "The subject continued to swing wildly and struggle with the victim, and at one point threw the victim to the ground."

He allegedly headbutted the victim at least once and left him with bruises, swelling and "substantial pain to his head."

The victim broke free and called 911. Before Lehbeib fled, he allegedly made "threatening and biased" statements and told the victim, "I am Palestinian, and you Jews are killing Palestinians."

After his arrest, Lehbeib allegedly ranted against Jews and threatened more violence against anyone else he saw with an Israeli flag.

Police have notified the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Lehbeib faces felony charges of a hate crime assault, robbery and criminal mischief. A judge set his bail at $50,000 and ordered him to surrender his passport and stay away from the victim.

Authorities said they believe he took a bus from a migrant shelter in Queens, the borough of New York City that borders Nassau County, into the residential neighborhood where he was arrested.

Nassau is a suburb just east of the Big Apple, where police officials earlier this week warned of a "wave of migrant crime" after a group of illegals beat up two NYPD officers and investigators separately busted a Venezuelan crime ring.

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