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Car tires slashed in suspected settler attack, Sheikh Jarrah Palestinians say

Surveillance cameras show three hooded men entering a fenced-off area, before deflating tires on 11 cars

An Israeli police officer collects evidence from a vandalized vehicle in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, November 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
An Israeli police officer collects evidence from a vandalized vehicle in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, November 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Vandals slashed the tires on nearly a dozen Palestinian-owned vehicles overnight in a tense Jerusalem neighborhood where a nationalist Jewish group has been waging a decades-long legal battle to evict Palestinians, residents said Friday.

CCTV footage shows three hooded men entering a fenced-off area of Sheikh Jarrah before stabbing the tires of parked cars.

It was unclear who was responsible, but recent weeks have seen an escalation in violence by Israeli settlers toward Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israeli police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Assault and vandalism by settlers against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank, or against Arabs in Israel, are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks. Perpetrators claim that they are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.

Two weeks ago, four Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah rejected a settlement floated by the Israeli Supreme Court that would delay their eviction for the next 15 years.

The legal battle between Palestinian residents and Nahalat Shimon, the Jewish group seeking to evict them, has drawn an international media firestorm.

The planned evictions in Sheikh Jarrah were a key flashpoint in the leadup to the 11-day May conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

None of the 11 cars whose tires were deflated were owned by the four Palestinian families, according to residents.

The four Sheikh Jarrah homes under discussion were built on land owned by Jews before the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, when they were seized by Jordan and leased to Palestinian families. After Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, a 1970 Israeli law transferred all abandoned properties still held by the Jordanian government, including the Sheikh Jarrah homes, to the custody of the Israeli government.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized by most of the international community, and it considers the entire city its capital.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report

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