Cars vandalized, graffiti daubed in 3 suspected hate crimes in Palestinian towns

Vandals torch vehicle in Taybeh, scrawl slogan on wall referring to controversial hard-line West Bank outpost; cars daubed in Deir Ammar; trees destroyed in Sawiya

A car found torched in the West Bank village of Taybeh, November 29, 2019. (Taybeh council)
A car found torched in the West Bank village of Taybeh, November 29, 2019. (Taybeh council)

Cars and trees were vandalized and graffiti daubed on a wall and vehicles in three separate suspected hate crime attacks discovered in Palestinian towns in the West Bank on Friday morning.

A car was set ablaze in the Palestinian village of Taybeh overnight in a suspected hate crime.

In addition, the slogan, “Closed military zone Kumi Ori” was found daubed on the wall of a home in the village, northeast of Ramallah. Kumi Ori is a hard-line outpost of the Yitzhar settlement in the West Bank.

Earlier this month, the IDF extended an order sealing off Kumi Ori to non-residents. Within days there were two apparent hate crime attacks on Palestinian villages in the area of Yitzhar. Dozens of vehicles had windows smashed or tires slashed and the suspects graffitied Hebrew slogans referencing the outpost.

Graffiti found sprayed on a wall in the West Bank village of Taybeh. Slogan reads ‘Closed military zone Kumi Ori,’ November 29, 2019. (Taybeh council)

In addition, the Yesh Din rights group reported that Stars of David were found daubed on five cars in the village of Deir Ammar, and the vehicle’s tires were slashed. The group said it was the second assault in the past two weeks on the village, also located near Ramallah.

In a third incident, a farmer in the northern West Bank village of Sawiya said that 30 trees on a plot of his land were vandalized, Yesh Din reported. It was the second time within 48 hours that the plot of land had been targeted, the group noted.

A Star of David found daubed on a car in the West Bank village of Deir Ammar in suspected hate crime, November 29, 2019. (Deir Ammar council)

Vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, with their perpetrators claiming that they’re a retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.

On Thursday, police opened an investigation into another suspected hate crime after dozens of vehicles were vandalized in Jaljulia, an Arab town in central Israel.

A tree found damaged in the northern West Bank village of Sawiya in a suspected hate crime, November 29 2019. (Sawiya council)

Tires of some 40 vehicles were slashed, and some of the vehicles were daubed with anti-assimilation messages in Hebrew, police said in a statement.

One message scrawled on the side of a bus read: “Jews end the diaspora [mindset] and stop assimilating.”

Police said detectives had opened a hate crimes investigation into the vandalism.

Last Friday morning cars were found torched in a number of Palestinian villages in the West Bank in another suspected hate crime by Jewish settlers.

In addition to the burnt vehicles, Stars of David and other graffiti were discovered on buildings in the villages.

The acts of vandalism occurred in the northern West Bank villages of Qabalan, Beit Dajan, Majdal Bani Fadil and ad-Dik, the anti-racism group Tag Meir said at the time.

Palestinian men inspect a car that was burnt in a suspected hate crime in the northern West Bank village of Beit Dajan on November 22, 2019. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Fifty cars in total were vandalized, according to the Walla news site.

Anti-Arab hate crimes are typically perpetrated by Jewish extremists against Palestinians in the West Bank, though there have been a few incidents this year of Arab communities inside Israel being targeted.

According to human rights organizations, investigations into the so-called price tag attacks rarely yield an arrest or indictment, leading to accusations of systemic racism against Palestinians.

During the annual olive harvest over the last two months, settlers have destroyed or uprooted hundreds of Palestinian-owned trees across the West Bank. Of 97 complaints about settler attacks against Palestinian trees, followed up by Israeli rights groups Yesh Din, none have so far led to an indictment of a suspect.

Meanwhile, human rights group B’Tselem has recorded 13 other price tag attacks in the West Bank over the past two months, including slashed tires and hateful graffiti.

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