Palestinians hit by reported wave of vandalism after apparent hit-and-run
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Palestinians hit by reported wave of vandalism after apparent hit-and-run

Hundreds of uprooted olive trees found in Palestinian villages over weekend in suspected hate crimes following Israeli woman’s death on West Bank road

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Local residents of the West Bank village of Ras Karkar examine olive trees damaged by suspected Israeli extremists, August 19, 2018. (Iyad Haddad/B'Tselem)
Local residents of the West Bank village of Ras Karkar examine olive trees damaged by suspected Israeli extremists, August 19, 2018. (Iyad Haddad/B'Tselem)

A number of apparent hate crime attacks targeted Palestinians and their property over the weekend in the northern West Bank, a rights group reported Sunday, following the death of an Israeli woman in what was initially suspected to be a car-ramming attack but is now believed to have been a hit-and-run.

According to B’Tselem, hours after 42-year-old Hava Roizen was run down and killed by a Palestinian driver on Route 60 in the northern West Bank, Israelis hurled stones at several Palestinian vehicles near the Yitzhar settlement and torched a tractor in the nearby village of Urif.

On Friday, a day after Roizen’s death, Palestinians in the northern West Bank villages of Arraba and Luban a-Sharqiya woke up to find some 300 and 70 olive trees, respectively, uprooted, B’Tselem said.

A similar crime was reported on Saturday in Ras Karkar near Ramallah, according to the rights group, where 74 olive trees were cut down, a water well was damaged and Hebrew hate slogans were found at the scene.

Police have yet to open an investigation into any of the incidents.

“Price tag” hate graffiti scrawled near the West Bank village of Ras Karkar, August 19, 2018. (Iyad Haddad/B’Tselem)

In another suspected retaliatory hate crime, the tires of 15 vehicles were punctured overnight in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, a NGO based in the city said Sunday.

Graffiti was also found on a wall in Issawiya reading, “Jerusalem Arabs are terrorists, Havat Gilad,” according to the left-wing Ir Amim organization.

The graffiti was apparently in reference to the Havat Gilad settlement outpost in the northern West Bank, near where Roizen was killed.

Graffiti reading “Jerusalem Arabs are terrorists, Havat Gilad” is seen in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on August 18, 2018. (Ir Amin)

Citing local residents, Ir Amim said police officers who arrived in Issawiya cleaned off the graffiti. Police said an investigation has been opened into the incident and evidence was gathered to help track down the suspects.

Though police did not indicate who was behind the vandalism, Jewish extremists have regularly carried out so-called “price tag” attacks following Palestinian violence or state demolition of illegal settlement homes in the West Bank.

Palestinian olive groves, mosques and churches have been targeted by far-right vandals in recent years, as have dovish Israeli rights groups and even Israeli military bases.

Police have opened probes into dozens of hate crime attacks believed to have been perpetrated by Israeli settlers in recent months. While a number of arrests have been made, the only suspects that had been behind bars for the crimes were released last week without any charges filed.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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