Palestinians in the northern West Bank village of Luban a-Sharqiya woke up Thursday morning to discover their town had been targeted in an apparent hate attack, with 17 vehicles vandalized and a bus daubed with Hebrew graffiti.
Police said they were preparing, in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces, to enter the town 12 miles south of Nablus in order to gather evidence.
Photos from the scene showed that a bus near the vandalized cars was spray-painted with the phrase “We will take our fate into our own hands,” an apparent reference to the intentions of ultra-nationalist settler youths known to commit such crimes.
Despite dozens of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and their property over the past year, arrests of suspects have been exceedingly rare.
Thursday’s incident came a day after two Israeli settlers set ablaze fields belonging to Palestinian farmers from the nearby village of Burin, according to the Yesh Din rights group.
Shortly after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the arsonists descended from nearby Yitzhar, ignited the brushfire, then fled back toward the flashpoint settlement, Yesh Din said.
An eyewitness claimed to have seen the two culprits pass a jeep belonging to security forces that didn’t stop them from fleeing the scene.
Last month, two attacks similar to the one in Luban a-Sharqiya took place in the span of two weeks.
In the northern West Bank village of Jamma’in a parked car was torched and Hebrew graffiti spray-painted on the wall of a nearby home.
Three days earlier, 12 cars in the nearby village of As-Sawiya were vandalized and the Hebrew phrase “The nation of Israel lives” was graffitied on a nearby wall along with a Star of David. In that incident, a security camera caught a hooded suspect with a backpack walking up to a vehicle, bending down and slashing its tires.
Police opened an investigation, but have yet to make an arrest.