Palestinian town targeted in apparent hate crime days after terror attack

Residents of Batir report tires slashed, Hebrew phrases graffitied on cars and walls in possible revenge for killing of 2 Israelis

Illustrative: A Palestinian man changes the tires of his car after a 'price tag' attack in March 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Illustrative: A Palestinian man changes the tires of his car after a 'price tag' attack in March 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Vandals slashed tires of vehicles and sprayed graffiti on walls in an apparent hate crime attack overnight in the central West Bank village of Batir, locals reported Wednesday morning.

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.”

Another vehicle was graffitied with a Star of David and a nearby wall was spray-painted with the phrase “No more terror attacks” in Hebrew.

The Israel Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident, which came just three days after two Israelis were killed in a terror attack in the northern West Bank.

The apparent hate crime in Batir was the latest incident of reported settler violence since the Sunday shooting spree. Hours after the shooting, the Yesh Din rights group reported that Palestinians were targeted in several instances throughout the West Bank.

Three workers in the Palestinian electric company required treatment for their injuries after their car was hit by rocks near the Shavei Shomoron settlement. They were taken to a hospital in Nablus, Yesh Din said. On Route 55, in the northeastern West Bank, settlers threw rocks at cars in the entrance to the Palestinian village of Jinsafut, breaking the windshields of some of the vehicles. Rocks were also thrown at homes in the towns of Hawara, Asira al-Qibliya and Jit, the rights group added.

A Palestinian car damaged by rocks thrown at it, near the West Bank Palestinian village of Jinsafut, March 17, 2019. (Jinsafut Municipality)

The incident came as Israeli authorities are reportedly attempting to crack down on a growing number of attacks attributed to Jewish extremists.

Far-right Israelis justify targeting Palestinians and sometimes IDF soldiers in ostensible retaliation for terror attacks and Israeli government actions deemed hostile to the settler movement.

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.

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