Settler extremists suspected of vandalizing cars in Palestinian city

Rights group says 25 vehicles damaged in Salfit; graffiti on wall reads ‘price tag’; police expected to launch investigation

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

The scene where Palestinian-owned cars and the wall of a home was graffitied in a suspected settler hate crime in the West Bank city of Salfit, March 20, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
The scene where Palestinian-owned cars and the wall of a home was graffitied in a suspected settler hate crime in the West Bank city of Salfit, March 20, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

A number of vehicles were found vandalized in the Palestinian city of Salfit early Monday morning, in a suspected hate crime, a rights group said.

According to Yesh Din, a left-wing group that documents settler violence in the West Bank, the tires on at least 25 cars were slashed.

Images published by the group also showed graffiti sprayed on some of the vehicles and the wall of a building.

A Hebrew slogan in graffiti on the wall read: “Price tag.”

Surveillance camera footage published by Yesh Din showed masked and hooded youths, suspected to be settler extremists, puncturing the tires before dawn on Monday.

Police were expected to launch an investigation into the incident.

Salfit is located south of the settlement of Ariel, in the central West Bank.

Anti-Palestinian vandalism by Jewish extremists is a common occurrence in the West Bank.

Incidents of vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, with perpetrators calling them retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.

Arrests of perpetrators are exceedingly rare and rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.

The scene where Palestinian-owned cars and the wall of a home was graffitied in a suspected settler hate crime in the West Bank city of Salfit, March 20, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Reports of nationalist crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank surged in recent weeks, following several terror attacks.

The alleged vandalism on Monday came a day after a Palestinian gunman shot and seriously hurt an Israeli man in the nearby town of Huwara, south of Nablus.

The shooting attack came exactly three weeks after two Israeli brothers were shot dead in a terror attack while driving through Huwara.

In the wake of that fatal attack, settlers staged a riot in the town, setting fire to homes and cars. One Palestinian was shot dead in unclear circumstances.

A top military general referred to the unprecedented rioting as a “pogrom.”

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