Police on Tuesday investigated a suspected “price tag” attack in the Arab-Israeli village of Abu Ghosh, in which vandals slashed the tires of 28 cars and scrawled graffiti on nearby walls.
The Hebrew graffiti found at the scene of the crime read “racism or assimilation” and “Arabs out.”
Police opened an investigation into the incident, but made no immediate arrests.
Abu Ghosh is an Arab village west of Jerusalem located among Jewish towns and agricultural settlements, and its 6,000 residents have traditionally enjoyed cordial relations with their Jewish neighbors.
Abu Ghosh Mayor Salim Jaber was quoted in Maariv saying that “every society has its extremists and its moderates.” This incident would not affect the relations between the citizens of Abu Ghosh and Jewish neighbors, he said.
Jaber added that among residents of his town there was no hatred, and that Abu Ghosh was “the symbol of coexistence.”
The term “price tag” attack is used to describe crimes, typically but not always vandalism or arson of Palestinian property, carried out by extremist Jews as retribution for Israeli government actions — such as demolition of illegal West Bank construction — which they deem contrary to settler interests.
Last month, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu) presented a proposal to classify these kinds of attacks as terrorism, in order to increase the tools at police disposal in the battle against a rising number of “price tag” attacks on non-Jewish targets, including churches and properties of Israeli Arabs and West Bank Palestinians.
Earlier this week, the Cabinet rejected the call to label such activities terrorism but approved of measures that will make it easier for authorities to prosecute such attacks.