A Palestinian village near Jerusalem was vandalized overnight in a suspected hate crime attack, Hebrew media reports said Friday.
Residents of Beit Iksa found two damaged vehicles and a Hebrew-language slogan graffitied on a nearby wall, a spokesperson for the police said.
The graffiti on the wall read “regards from Ahuvia,” with a Star of David next to it — a reference to 16-year-old settler Ahuvia Sandak who died in December during a police chase after allegedly throwing rocks at Palestinians.
Settler violence directed toward Palestinians has spiked in recent months following Sandak’s death.
Israel Police said they have opened an investigation into the apparent hate crime.
חשד לפעולת תג מחיר בכפר בית איכסא סמוך לירושלים.
2 רכבים הוצתו וכתובת "ד"ש מאהוביה" רוססה על קיר סמוך. גורמי הביטחון פתחו בחקירת האירוע. pic.twitter.com/eebbkbf9xy
— Elisha Ben Kimon (@elishabenkimon) March 19, 2021
The car in which Sandak was riding crashed during a police chase after he and several others allegedly hurled stones at Palestinians.
Friday marked 90 days since Sandak’s death.
Incidents of vandalism and attacks against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, with perpetrators claiming they are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.
Arrests of perpetrators have been exceedingly rare and rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.
Last Saturday, a group of around 10 masked people, allegedly Israeli settlers, beat and threw rocks at a Palestinian family in the West Bank in an attack the family captured on video.
In February, a 17-year-old Israeli settler was indicted for attacks on Palestinian homes and property. The defendant threw a stun grenade into two homes as families slept inside, police say.
Together with seven others involved, the defendant also allegedly hurled stones at four homes and vehicles, causing damage. As a result of the attack one Palestinian man, 61, was injured in the forehead from broken glass, while his daughter, 17, suffered a serious anxiety attack, dizziness, and confusion.