Police were investigating an apparent hate crime by right-wing Jewish extremists after 400 gravevine trees were found chopped down Wednesday in a Palestinian vineyard near the West Bank city of Hebron alongside threatening graffiti in Hebrew.
Security forces arrived at the property on the outskirts of the Palestinian village of Beit Anun, which is owned by a pair of residents of nearby Hebron, after the farmer found the destroyed vines.
Photos taken by B’Tselem human rights group showed the Hebrew phrase “We will reach every place” spray-painted on a boulder at the scene. The graffiti indicated that the attack was of the so-called “price tag” kind, which far-right Jewish perpetrators say are in retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement.
Pictures showed that the mostly young vines had their trunks sawed through.
The attack was the second such crime this week after Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat woke up Monday to find the tires of 20 vehicles slashed and Hebrew slogans spray-painted on the walls of several homes in an apparent hate crime attack.
But Wednesday’s incident was the first in the West Bank in May after a month marred by 14 attacks.
Attacks have included the chopping down of dozens of olive trees, the torching of a mosque, stones thrown through car windows, the slashing of tires and graffiti calling for the murder of Arabs.
Police are investigating the various crimes, but no arrests have been reported.
Israeli settlers also suffered property damage in at least one April incident that they blamed on Palestinians. Some 150 grapevines in a vineyard belonging to a resident of the Jordan Valley settlement of Tomer were chopped down overnight.
A pair of memorials built in the northern West Bank in memory of settlers killed in Palestinian terror attacks have also been vandalized in recent weeks.
On Monday, a Molotov cocktail was hurled at a Jewish home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. A police officer who was operating in the area at the time was lightly injured.