Police on Sunday announced the arrest of a man suspected of vandalizing a fountain in Petah Tikva’s Donald Trump Square to protest against Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
On June 29, the water in the fountain was dyed red to symbolize blood and the words “annexation will cost us in blood” were spray-painted nearby. The square was inaugurated last year in honor of the US president’s 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a statement, police said they had identified the suspect, a resident of Tel Aviv, after the vandalism, and had been trying to locate him. He was finally arrested Saturday evening on suspicion of disturbing the peace during a protest in Tel Aviv against the government’s economic policies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“During the interrogation of the suspect it arose that he was wanted for questioning because of the incident in Petah Tikva,” the statement said. “The suspect was taken this morning to the police station in Petah Tikva and is currently being investigated.”
The vandalism of the fountain came just days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s July 1 start date to begin moving forward with unilaterally annexing West Bank lands slated for Israel under Trump’s peace plan. Netanyahu did not announce any moves on that date and said talks with the US administration on the matter were ongoing.
The prospect of unilateral annexation has been condemned internationally, with European and Arab states, as well as senior members of the US Democratic Party, warning the Israeli government against the move.