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Tires slashed, walls graffitied in latest suspected hate crime targeting Palestinians

Graffiti of a Jewish star and the Hebrew phrases "Death to murderers" and "We don't sleep when the name of God is desecrated" seen in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on December 20, 2018.
String of apparent hate crimes come as anger mounts over spate of deadly terror attacks in the West Bank

The tires of some 20 cars were slashed and walls were graffitied with Hebrew slogans in east Jerusalem overnight Thursday in the latest of a string of apparent hate crimes targeting Palestinians and Arab-Israelis following two deadly terror attacks in the West Bank last week.

Slogans including “death to murderers” and “we will not sleep while God’s name is being desecrated” were found scrawled in Hebrew along with the Jewish Star of David on walls in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

Security camera footage from the neighborhood shows a suspect wearing a hooded sweatshirt and backpack approaching parked cars and slashing their tires. Police said that an investigation into the vandalism had been launched and that officers were searching for the perpetrator.

The crimes come as anger has mounted, particularly among Jewish-Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, over a spate of deadly attacks in the territory.

Last Thursday, two Israeli soldiers were killed in a shooting at a bus stop near the outpost in an attack apparently inspired by another shooting attack just days earlier at the nearby settlement of Ofra. That attack, which was claimed by Hamas, injured seven and killed a newborn baby delivered prematurely after its mother was shot and seriously injured.

Following the attacks, a number of instances of stone throwing, tire slashing, and so-called “price tag” graffiti having been reported throughout the West Bank.

On Tuesday, the tires of nearly two dozen vehicles were slashed in the Palestinian village of Yasuf, south of the flashpoint city of Nablus.

Hebrew graffiti calling on Jews to “wake up” was daubed on one of the cars, while the words “I cannot fall asleep while blood is being spilled” was found spray painted on the wall of a mosque in the village.

A day earlier, residents of the Palestinian village of Turmusaya accused settlers in the area of chopping down a grove of nearly 100 of their olive trees in what they said was the fourth such attack in a week, resulting in a total loss of some 300 trees.


No arrests have so far been made in connection to the crimes. It is rare, though not without precedent, that “price tag” attacks targeting Palestinians bring about criminal prosecution in Israeli courts.

Palestinian Authority minister for civil affairs Hussein al-Sheikh met with the head of Israel's Shin Bet interior security service Nadav Argaman on Tuesday in a bid to avoid further escalation, according to a report by Israel’s public broadcasters citing Palestinian sources.

Israeli settlers and their right-wing backers have staged multiple demonstrations demanding harsher responses to the uptick in violence and more effective deterrence mechanisms against terror.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Givat Assaf outpost where two Israeli soldiers were killed in a shooting attack last week and vowed to strengthen settlements and “hit hard” against terrorism.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law and seen as major obstacles to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Israel differentiates between settlements it has approved and those it has not. Those without approval are referred to as outposts and are typically populated by hardline religious nationalists who see the entire West Bank as part of Israel.

Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live among nearly three million Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.


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