Police arrest two Israelis suspected of vandalizing Palestinian property
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Police arrest two Israelis suspected of vandalizing Palestinian property

Yitzhar and Jerusalem residents to be brought before judge after rare arrests following wave of so-called price tag attacks

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

A car daubed with 'administrative price tag' in East Jerusalem, May 9, 2017. (Amar Arouri/B'Tselem)
Illustrative: A car daubed with 'administrative price tag' in East Jerusalem, May 9, 2017. (Amar Arouri/B'Tselem)

Police announced on Monday that they had arrested two Israelis suspected of vandalizing Palestinian property in hate crime attacks.

The suspects — one a resident of Jerusalem and another from the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar — will be brought before a Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court judge on Monday afternoon for a remand hearing.

Despite the dozens of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and their property in recent months and years, arrests of the perpetrators have become exceedingly rare, with the last reported one having been in December.

Rights groups lament that convictions are even more of an exception with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.

So-called price tag attacks, usually limited to arson and graffiti but sometimes including physical assaults and even murder, have been carried out by Jewish extremists against non-Jews and IDF targets in the wake of Palestinian terror attacks or Israeli government decisions the extremists oppose.

In the most recent attack, which took place earlier this month, residents of the northern West Bank Palestinian town of Hawara woke up to find several cars with tires slashed and a tombstone graffitied with a Star of David, several homes with Hebrew phrases daubed on their outer walls, and the desecration of the cemetery in the middle of Hawara. One of the phrases graffitied at the scene read, “Rotten government, when will you fight the enemy” — an apparent indication of the far-right activists’ contempt for Israeli government policies in response to Palestinian violence.

Security camera footage captured at least three figures wearing all black walking up to vehicles in the middle of Hawara and slowly slashing tires one by one.

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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