Cars, home in Palestinian village vandalized in apparent hate crime

Property of residents of Jab’a, near Bethlehem, daubed with Stars of David, slogans proclaiming ‘revenge’; Border Police arrest 3 Ramallah teens suspected of throwing firebombs

A car in the West Bank village of Jab'a spray-painted with the words 'Bat Ayin evacuation - revenge' in an apparent hate crime, November 30, 2018 (Courtesy)
A car in the West Bank village of Jab'a spray-painted with the words 'Bat Ayin evacuation - revenge' in an apparent hate crime, November 30, 2018 (Courtesy)

Police opened an investigation Friday after a building and vehicles in a Palestinian village near Bethlehem were vandalized in an apparent hate crime.

Residents of the West Bank village of Jab’a, southwest of Bethlehem, said they had discovered graffiti spray-painted on homes and cars in the morning, and the tires of nine vehicles had been punctured. The graffiti included Stars of David and the words “Bat Ayin evacuation — revenge.”

The Kan public broadcaster noted that on Thursday police demolished an illegally constructed toilet facility near a synagogue in the nearby settlement of Bat Ayin.

Also Friday Border Police arrested three teen residents of Ramallah suspected of hurling Molotov cocktails at them near the city. None were hurt in the incident.

Extremist settlers have often engaged in attacks on Palestinians — often vandalism but sometimes physical violence — as ostensible retaliation for terror attacks and Israeli government actions deemed hostile to the settler movement.

A home in the West Bank village of Jab’a spray-painted with the words ‘Bat Ayin – revenge’ in an apparent hate crime, November 30, 2018 (Courtesy)

Such attacks have increased in frequency in recent months.

On Sunday a number of vehicles were damaged and graffiti was spray-painted on walls and cars in the Palestinian village of al-Mughayir in the central West Bank.

Tires of vehicles were slashed, and slogans such as “Revenge,” “Price tag” and “Enough with administrative orders” were found sprayed on walls and cars.

Administrative orders, when used to prevent settler violence, can include detention, bans from entering the entire West Bank, and bans on contacting certain individuals, as well as nightly curfews.

Many so-called “hilltop youth” settlers have railed at the employment of administrative orders against activists suspected of committing attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank and non-Jews in Israel.

Administrative detention is also widely used against Palestinians, and has been criticized by many rights groups as it allows Israel to hold detainees for long periods of time without trial, access to a lawyer or even knowing what they are accused of.

Palestinians in two villages in the northern West Bank reported last Friday morning that dozens of cars had been damaged overnight, along with graffiti that was spray-painted on various surfaces, in alleged extremist settler attacks. Police opened an investigation.

Also last Friday police opened an investigation after the tires of several cars were slashed in East Jerusalem.

Last month, a Palestinian mother of eight was killed when a rock the size of a large tissue box flew through the windshield of the car her husband was driving and struck the head of Aisha Rabi, who was sitting in the passenger seat.

A car belonging to a Palestinian couple is seen after it was involved in a deadly crash reportedly due to stone-throwing by Israeli settlers at the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank on October 12, 2018. (Zachariah Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights); Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi (Courtesy)

Her husband has asserted that the stone was thrown by Israeli settlers, as he heard Hebrew being spoken. The Shin Bet and Israel Police have both opened probes into the incident, which remain under gag order.

However, The Times of Israel learned earlier this month that the growing conviction among defense officials was that the 47-year-old Rabi was killed in a terror attack perpetrated by Israelis.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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