Police suspect ‘price tag’ vandalism in Jerusalem

Residents in Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa find spray-paint, slashed tires on 11 vehicles

A suspected 'price tag' attack: slashed tires on a vehicle, June 11, 2012. (photo credit Miriam Alster/ Flash90)
A suspected 'price tag' attack: slashed tires on a vehicle, June 11, 2012. (photo credit Miriam Alster/ Flash90)

Cars were vandalized in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa Tuesday overnight, police said Wednesday, in a possible so-called “price tag” hate crime attack by right-wing extremists.

Eleven cars belonging to residents had their tires slashed, and onto one of the vehicles were spray-painted the words “delineation order” — a reference to a military-issued decree which enables the evacuation of illegal settler outposts in the West Bank.

“Price tag” refers to vandalism and other hate crimes usually carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists in retaliation for government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by nationalist vandals in recent years.

The acts have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.

Over the weekend, 16 Jewish teenagers were detained by police in a sting operation following complaints of regular attacks on Arab bus drivers in central Israel. According to police, the group of teenagers would regularly ride the bus to the Petah Tikva mall from their homes in Elad, and, if an Arab bus driver was on duty, they would vandalize the bus, shout racist insults, refuse to pay the fare, and attack the driver.

In December two Jewish settlers were sentenced to 30 months in prison and a year on probation for torching several vehicles belonging to Palestinians in a northern West Bank village last year. The Lod District Court deemed the arson a price tag hate crime attack and further ordered the perpetrators of the act to pay NIS 15,000 (about $3,816) as compensation to the owner of one of the ignited vehicles.

That sentence was the lengthiest ever to be given to individuals convicted of carrying out a price tag attack against Palestinians.

Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.

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