Hate graffiti and vandalism were discovered in the West Bank villages As-Sawiya and Luban a-Sharqiya on Tuesday morning, after an apparent “price tag” attack overnight, police said.
Messages including “Expel or kill” and “Enough with administrative orders” were scrawled on walls in the villages, and car tires were deflated.
A spokesman for the Israel Police said that an investigation had been opened, and that officers and IDF soldiers had begun to search for the perpetrators.
Administrative orders, when used to prevent settler violence, can include detention, bans from entering the entire West Bank, and bans on contacting certain individuals, as well as nightly curfews.
Many so-called “hilltop youth” settlers have railed at the employment of administrative orders against activists suspected of committing attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank and non-Jews in Israel.
Administrative detention is also widely used against Palestinians, and has been criticized by many rights groups as it allows Israel to hold detainees for long periods of time without trial, access to a lawyer or even knowing what they are accused of.
“Price tag” refers to violence 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 such vandals in recent years.
Most recently, in early April, several cars were vandalized and spray-painted with slogans in the village of Fara’ata near the West Bank city of Nablus.
The acts have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din condemned Monday night’s incident.
“The acts of vandalism in Palestinian villages, such as that which occurred overnight and others in recent days, are intended to harm and intimidate Palestinians in their homes, as well as to defy the law enforcement authorities,” it said in a statement. “They must be dealt with severely before the criminals escalate and harm human life.”