Several parked cars were vandalized in East Jerusalem early Thursday, in the second suspected “price tag” hate crime against Palestinian and Arab Israeli targets in two days.
The cars in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina in the capital were spray-painted with graffiti messages and some of their tires were punctured, police said in a statement.
They added that an investigation had been opened and that officers from a forensic identification laboratory were brought in to collect evidence.
Photos released by police showed one of the cars bearing the message “Stop administrative detentions” in Hebrew — the same message scrawled a day earlier on cars and buildings in the West Bank village of Fara’ata, near Nablus, in an attack Palestinians blamed on Israeli settlers.
Photos of cars with smashed windshields and punctured tires in Fara’ata were posted on Palestinian media on Wednesday. Messages including “Stop administrative detentions” and “Administrative price tag” were scrawled on vehicles and buildings. Police said they had opened an investigation and that “police forces along with army forces arrived at the scene and began collecting evidence.”
Many of the so-called “hilltop youth” settlers have launched a campaign against the employment of administrative detention against suspects accused of committing attacks against Palestinians and non-Jews in the West Bank.
Administrative detention is also widely used against Palestinians, and has been criticized by many rights groups since it allows Israel to hold detainees for long periods of time, without trial, being allowed to consult a lawyer or even knowing what they are accused of.
“Price tag” refers to vandalism and other hate crimes carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists ostensibly in retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by nationalist vandals in recent years.
The acts have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
In February, racist anti-Arab graffiti was daubed on vehicles in the West Bank village of Jit, and tires were slashed on some of the vehicles, police said at the time. Among the Hebrew slogans found were “Death to the Arabs” and “Transfer now,” a reference to the far-right notion of expelling all of the Palestinians to foreign countries. It was the second such incident reported in two days, after several cars were similarly vandalized in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan earlier that week.
In January, a car was torched in East Jerusalem and “Death to the Arabs” graffiti was found nearby.