Swastikas were found spray-painted on a sign outside the Susya settlement in the south Hebron hills in what residents said was an anti-Semitic attack that took place over Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
The graffiti was drawn on a sign directing passersby to an archaeological site belonging to the settlement, which contains the remains of an ancient Jewish village that stood from the fifth to the eighth centuries.
This wasn’t the first time such defacement had been found at or around the site. In 2014, a swastika was spray-painted on one of the walls of the ruins; and in 2015, another was spotted on the access road leading to the ancient city.
Har Hebron Regional Council chairman Yohai Damari said in a statement Tuesday that the graffiti was part of a broader “campaign by violent leftist activists against the residents of the area, which includes harassment, false complaints, trespassing and illegal construction on a large scale.”
Adjacent to the settlement is an unauthorized Palestinian village of the same name, which is home to roughly 75 people. In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Administration, the Defense Ministry body that authorizes West Bank construction, had the right to demolish Palestinian homes in Susya because they had been built without permission.
A campaign has since been launched by locals and activists to prevent the razing, but Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told reporters in August that the government is moving forward with plans to clear the hamlet in the coming months.