Police on Tuesday opened an investigation into an apparent hate crime in the northern West Bank where a building inside of a Palestinian village was torched and Hebrew graffiti was daubed on an outer wall.
As in a similar incident in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sharafat on Friday, the graffiti found in the village of Einabus referenced retribution for a pair of illegal homes that Israeli troops razed last week in the flashpoint outpost of Kumi Ori.
“Only the enemy’s [property should be] destroyed. Regards from Kumi Ori,” was the message spray-painted outside the school classroom that was targeted.
The Tag Meir group, which works to counter hate and racism in Israel and the West Bank, condemned the attack and blasted the government for “failing once again in the defense it is obliged to provide to Palestinians who are within its responsibilities.”
Einabus lies in both Areas B and C of the northern West Bank, which are under Israeli security control.
“Jewish terrorists set fire to a mosque in Jerusalem just a few days ago and have now advanced to a school. Is there no leash that can rein in on their lawlessness?” the Tag Meir statement added.
The Israeli group organized a solidarity visit to the mosque in Sharafat that was torched on Friday, bringing some 200 Jewish residents of nearby neighborhoods to the scene Saturday where they donated enough funds to repair the damage.
There, arsonists daubed, “Destroy [the property of] Jews? Kumi Ori destroys [the property of] enemies!” before fleeing.
Kumi Ori is an outpost of the Yitzhar settlement in the West Bank.
The outpost provided a “tailwind” for an increase in attacks on Palestinians and Israeli security forces in recent months, a security official told The Times of Israel last month.
Kumi Ori is home to seven families along with roughly a dozen extremist Israeli teens known as hilltop youth.
The Israel Defense Forces declared the wildcat community a closed military zone in October after a number of young settlers living there were involved in a string of violent attacks on Palestinians and security forces.
Incidents of vandalism 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. However, state prosecutors did indict one perpetrator of such a crime and requested that the suspect remain behind bars until the end of proceedings against him.