Police opened a probe Wednesday into an apparent hate crime in the northern West Bank Palestinian town of Urif, after residents woke up to find a car torched and Hebrew graffiti spray-painted on the walls of a building.
Israeli forces arrived in the town, south of Nablus, to gather testimony and take photographs of the arson attack as well as the graffiti, which read, “Don’t mess with us”
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that Israelis from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar snuck into Urif at 3 a.m. and carried out the attack. He added that in addition to the arson and graffiti, the assailants had also slashed the tires of a number of vehicles.
Last month, residents of Urif reported to the Yesh Din rights group that Israelis from Yitzhar entered the eastern part of the village and began throwing stones at a school.
Residents said that IDF troops witnessed the incident but did not intervene other than to use riot dispersal means to distance the Palestinians who began to congregate at the site.
Last month, a Palestinian mother of eight was killed when a rock the size of a large tissue box flew through the windshield of the car her husband was driving and struck the head of Aisha Rabi, who was sitting in the passenger seat. Her husband has asserted that the stone was thrown by Israeli settlers, as he he heard Hebrew being spoken. The Shin Bet and Israel Police have both opened probes into the incident, which remain under gag order.
However, The Times of Israel learned earlier this month that the growing conviction among defense officials was that the 47-year-old Rabi was killed in a terror attack perpetrated by Israelis.