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‘Expel or kill’: Dozens of cars vandalized in Arab Israeli town

Meretz head assails Netanyahu over hate attack in Kafr Qasim, says ‘sick racism’ backed by his far-right political partners

'Expel or kill' and a Star of David graffitied on a vehicle in Kfar Qasim, March 25, 2020 (Israel Police)
'Expel or kill' and a Star of David graffitied on a vehicle in Kfar Qasim, March 25, 2020 (Israel Police)

Dozens of cars had their tires punctured and a number of vehicles were graffitied in a suspected hate crime in the central city of Kafr Qasim overnight Wednesday.

One of the vehicles in the Arab town was sprayed with the slogan “expel or kill” while another was daubed with a Star of David.

Police said they opened an investigation into the attack.

Anti-Arab vandalism by Jewish extremists has become a common occurrence in the West Bank but is rarer inside Israel.

Star of David graffitied on a vehicle that had its tires punctured in Kfar Qasim, March 25, 2020 (Israel Police)

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.

Religious Zionism party chairman Bezalel Smotrich (L) and Itamar Ben Gvir celebrate at the party headquarters in Modi’in on elections night, March 23, 2021. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

Many of those Jewish terror suspects were represented by Itamar Ben Gvir, the far-right politician elected to the Knesset in Tuesday’s election.

Responding to the overnight attack, Meretz party head Nitzan Horowitz drew a direct connection between the vandalism and the election of Ben Gvir’s party with the help of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who worked urgently to form a merger that would ensure it crossed the electoral threshold and helped the premier form a coalition.

“Dozens of vehicles were spray-painted and punctured. For what? Why? Blind hatred, sick racism. And those who give it backing are the favored partners of the corrupt one,” Horowitz said, referring to Netanyahu, who is on trial for alleged corruption.

Settler violence toward Palestinians has spiked in recent months following the death of 16-year-old settler Ahuvia Sandak in December, during a police chase. The car in which Sandak was riding crashed after he and several others allegedly hurled rocks at Palestinians.

Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz, center, at a press conference in Tel Aviv on March 23, 2021. (Flash90)

On Sunday, a 17-year-old boy in Jerusalem was charged with reckless manslaughter for allegedly attacking an Arab minibus driver who, in trying to flee, proceeded to ram into and kill a protester.

The suspect was accused of throwing rocks at the minibus driven by Ibrahim Hamed and opening the door of the vehicle as others shouted “Arab, Arab” and “we’ll kill him.” As he attempted to flee the assault, Hamed plowed his vehicle into Itamar Ben Abu, 47, killing him.

Last Friday a Palestinian village near Jerusalem was vandalized in a suspected hate crime attack.

Residents of Beit Iksa found two damaged vehicles and a Hebrew-language slogan graffitied on a nearby wall. The graffiti on the wall read “regards from Ahuvia,” with a Star of David next to it.

Earlier this month, a group of around 10 masked people, allegedly settlers, beat and threw rocks at a Palestinian family in the West Bank in an attack the family captured on video.

A member of the Alyan family after an attack allegedly by masked settlers, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, March 13, 2021 (B’Tselem)

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.

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