Police open probe into apparent hate crime targeting Palestinian village
Palestinian governor holds Israeli government responsible

Police open probe into apparent hate crime targeting Palestinian village

Footage shows masked suspects walking through northern West Bank town of Qira, near Ariel settlement, and slashing tires, spray-painting walls

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

Police have opened an investigation after Palestinians in a northern West Bank village woke up Sunday morning to find over a dozen vehicles vandalized and Hebrew-language hate messages graffitied on walls throughout the town.

Among the phrases spray-painted in the town of Qira north of the Ariel settlement were “There is no room for enemies in Israel” and “When Jews are hurt, it is our obligation not to forget.” Thirteen vehicles had their tires slashed and Stars of David were daubed at several locations in the apparent hate crime.

Footage from security cameras in Qira caught several masked individuals walking through the village and slashing tires of a tractor and other vehicles in their path.

Abdullah Kamil, the Governor of the Salfit District in which Qira resides, told Haaretz that the Israeli government “bears responsibility for the crime and the repeated attacks by settlers.”

“When Jews are hurt it is our obligation not to forget” spray-painted on the wall of a Palestinian home in Qira in an apparent price tag attack on October 6, 2019. (Ouhoud Khafash/Yesh/Din)

In a similar incident last month, residents of the central West Bank village of Duma woke up to find  Hebrew hate slogans painted and tires slashed on five cars.

Among the phrases spray-painted were “Expel or kill” and “Jews wake up and expel the adversary.”

That village was the scene of a deadly terror attack in 2015 by Jewish extremists, in which three members of the Dawabsha family were killed in a firebombing.

The incident in Duma had been last month’s second apparent hate crime, following a similar attack in Asira al-Qibliya, where locals said a group of 15 young settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar entered the northern West Bank town and vandalized three cars, slashing their tires and hurling rocks through their windshields.

Despite the dozens of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and their property over the past year, arrests of perpetrators have been exceedingly rare. Rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.

The incidents, often referred to as price tag attacks, are usually limited to arson and graffiti, but have sometimes included physical assaults and even murder.

In December, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report that showed a 69% increase in settler attacks on Palestinians in 2018 compared to 2017.

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