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Palestinian village vandalized, trees cut down in apparent hate attack

Over two dozen olive trees destroyed, ‘Death to Arabs’ and ‘Drive them out’ spray painted on walls in West Bank’s Urif

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

'Death to Arabs' spray painted on the wall of a building in the West Bank Arab village of Urif in an apparent price tag attack on April 18, 2018. (Rabbis for Human Rights)
'Death to Arabs' spray painted on the wall of a building in the West Bank Arab village of Urif in an apparent price tag attack on April 18, 2018. (Rabbis for Human Rights)

Vandals cut down more than two dozen olive trees and spray-paint walls in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank with the phrase “Death to Arabs” on Wednesday in an apparent hate attack.

Photos from the scene showed one wall spray-painted with the biblical phrase “The stranger who approaches will be put to death,” which in context refers to a layman who enters the holy sanctuary. A nearby rock was painted with another biblical phrase, “You shall drive them out,” which relates to the conquest of the Land of Israel.

A Rabbis for Human Rights field worker said eight large trees were cut down along with 20 smaller saplings in Urif outside of Nablus, in a part of the West Bank classified as Area B, where the Palestinian Authority shares security responsibility with Israel.

It was the third such apparent attack this week, and came on Memorial Day, when Israel commemorates its fallen ahead of Independence Day.

One of eight olive trees cut down in the West Bank Arab village of Urif in an apparent price tag attack on April 18, 2018. (Rabbis for Human Rights)

On Tuesday morning hate graffiti and vandalism were discovered in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya and the West Bank village of Luban a-Sharqiya after an apparent “price tag” attack overnight, police said.

“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.

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.

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