Police opened a probe into a suspected hate crime targeting a Palestinian section in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood of East Jerusalem, where residents woke up Monday to discover over 25 vehicles vandalized.
On a number of the cars in the French Hill neighborhood, red Stars of David were graffitied and on an adjacent wall the Hebrew phrase, “Jews wake up, Jewish blood is not cheap.” Tires were also slashed on several vehicles.
Officers had arrived at the scene and were gathering evidence, a police spokeswoman said.
The incident took place in a section of French Hill bordering another Jewish East Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev.
The anti-racism group Tag Meir responded to the apparent hate crime, saying, “The dramatic rise in price tag attacks in recent months cannot be ignored.”
The phrase “price tag” is used to describe vandalism and other hate crimes usually carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists in retaliation for government policies against the settler movement.
“Palestinian people in East Jerusalem and other places serve as a punching bag for the extreme right-wing lunatics,” Tag Meir added.
Such attacks more frequently target Palestinian villages in the West Bank rather than neighborhoods in East Jerusalem or Arab Israeli towns within Israel proper.
Less than a week ago, a similar incident took place in the central West Bank village of Batir, where vandals slashed tires of vehicles and sprayed graffiti on walls. Among the cars that had their tires punctured was one that was daubed with the Hebrew phrase “We don’t rest while our brothers are being murdered.”
The apparent hate crime in Batir was the latest incident of reported settler violence that followed a Palestinian terror attack in the northern West Bnak, in which two Israelis were killed.
In December, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report that showed a 69 percent increase in settler attacks on Palestinians in 2018 compared to 2017.