'Arabs? Expel or Kill': Cars Vandalized, Graffiti Sprayed in West Bank Hate Crime

Defense officials have recently expressed concern over increase in such 'price tag' attacks

Israel Police officers examine the hateful graffiti reading 'Arabs? Expel or kill' that was sprayed in the Palestinian village of al-Jib, near Jerusalem, December 19, 2019.

Some 25 vehicles were vandalized and hateful graffiti were sprayed in a Palestinian village near Jerusalem on Wednesday overnight, Israel Police said Thursday.

Residents of the village of al-Jib called the police Thursday morning after finding over a dozen cars with their tires punctured. In addition, a hateful writing reading "Arabs? Expel or kill" was scrawled on a wall in the village. Another said "Arabs = enemies."

An investigation has been launched into the incident, Israel Police said. At the scene, officers confiscated the memory card from a camera used by a B'Tselem activist to document the scene, and told him he would be called in for questioning.

Last Wednesday, the tires of dozens of vehicles were punctured and hateful slogans were spray-painted in the Arab village of Manshiya Zabda. 

Two buildings in the village were defiled with the sentences: "Jews wake up, expel the enemy," "Arabs are enemies —  expel or kill" and "Mohammed is a pig." A Star of David was also scrawled on one of the cars. 

Israel Police have launched an investigation into the incident and said in a statement that "we severely view and condemn all sorts of nationalistic hate crimes. We'll employ all the measure at our disposal, in cooperation with other entities, to locate the perpetrators and bring them to justice."

The Emek Yizrael Regional Council, under whose jurisdiction the village is located, said in a statement that "the council categorically denounces the incident. We support the residents of Manshiya Zabda, who are very dear to us. We call on the police to get to the perpetrators responsible for this heinous act and bring them to justice. We'll show zero tolerance to incidents of racism and terrorism."

During 2019, Israeli civilians were responsible for 256 acts of violence in the West Bank, directed at either Palestinians or Israel Defense Forces soldiers, according to figures from the defense establishment.

While this represents a drop compared to 2018 in which there were 378 violent incidents, defense officials are concerned about an increase in the severity of the violence and the audaciousness of those responsible.

They are particularly alarmed by the continuing increase in so-called “price tag” attacks – vandalizing property and spraying hate graffiti. This year there were 50 such acts against Palestinian property, which is about the same as in 2018 – but which represents a three-fold increase over 2017.