Residents of two Palestinian villages found cars tires slashed and Hebrew-language slogans spray-painted on walls Wednesday morning, bringing the number of such vandalism attacks in Israel and the West Bank overnight to three.
In Deir Ammar, northwest of the Beit El settlement, the tires of some 15 vehicles were slashed and the phrases “Let us take care of them” and “We’ll take our fate into our own hands” were found graffitied on walls outside several homes, police said.
In Jalud, north of the Shiloh settlement, the same slogans were found spray-painted on various homes and the tires of four cars were punctured, police said.
The name of a far-right activist who has received an administrative order restricting him from the West Bank was also referenced in one of the graffiti messages in Jalud.
Criticism of the defense establishment’s employment of administrative orders issued in response to settler violence has been a common theme in much of the graffiti found at the scene of hate crime attacks on Palestinian villages.
The hilltop youth who have been the primary targets of such orders have have argued that they rob them of due process.
Also overnight, two cars were torched and Hebrew-language racist graffiti was daubed in an Arab Israeli village. Arsonists burned the two vehicles in the village of Iksal, in the north of country. On a wall a Hebrew slogan read, “Jews let’s win.” Police opened an investigation.
The incidents in Iksal, Deir Ammar and Jalud followed similar hate crimes that have taken place this month in the West Bank villages of Ramun, Beit Iksa, Burqa, Burin, Urif, As-Sawiya and Luban a-Sharqiya, Aqraba, and Fara’ata. In total 11 such incidents have been logged.
Attacks have included the chopping down of dozens of olive trees, stones thrown through the windows of homes, and cars and graffiti calling for the murder of Arabs.
Israeli settlers also suffered property damage on Wednesday in an attack that they blamed on Palestinians.
Police said they had opened an investigation after some 150 grapevines in a vineyard belonging to a resident of the Jordan Valley settlement of Tomer were chopped down overnight.
The owner of the vineyard, Yossi Kirshenberg, said in a statement that the perpetrators “chose to act against me because I am the representative of the security establishment and the security coordinator of the community.”
On Sunday, the Shin Bet security service released statistics showing far-right hate crimes against Palestinians have increased significantly since the beginning of 2018.
Through the first four months of the current calendar year, the Shin Bet documented 13 anti-Arab attacks (not including incidents this week). That was in contrast with only eight such incidents in all of 2017.
On Monday, a defense official told The Times of Israel that the security establishment views the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar as primarily responsible for the recent uptick in such incidents.
The town of roughly 1,500 residents has become a “refuge for hilltop youth” who have been involved in most of the so-called price tag attacks in the past year, the official said. The young activists are often referred to as hilltop youth due to their practice of setting up illegal outposts on West Bank hilltops.
The perpetrators of such attacks often use the slogan “price tag” to describe them. They say that the attacks are in retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement. Palestinian olive groves, mosques, churches have been targeted by far-right vandals in recent years, as have dovish Israeli rights groups and even IDF military bases.