Hateful Graffiti Scrawled, Tires Punctured in West Bank Hate Crime

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Vandalized car in the Palestinian west Bank of Marda, today.
Vandalized car in the Palestinian west Bank of Marda, today. Credit: Regional Council Kafr Marda

Malicious graffiti was scrawled and property was damaged Wednesday in the Palestinian village of Marda in the West Bank.

Hateful writings reading "Price tag" and "Destroying for enemies and not for Jews" were spray-painted on eight vehicles and the walls of buildings in the village, which is located near the Jewish settlement of Ariel. Police and military forces arrived at the scene.

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The head of the local council, Dr. Munif al-Hafash, said settlers entered the village early in the morning, spray-painted homes and punctured car tires.

"This is a continuation of the incidents of aggression and property damage, which also include damage to olive groves, toppling olive trees and incidents of vandalism or theft,” Dr. al-Hafash said.

The organization Combatants for Peace said of the incident that "settler violence continues to reach astronomical proportions in light of the backing it receives from the security forces and from the political arm of the hilltop youth in the Knesset."

They called on Public Security Minister Omar Bar-Lev and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to "wake up and raise a clear voice," adding that they have condoned these actions by remaining silent. 

The harvest period, which began last week, has become a time of increased settler arson attacks on property and violence against Palestinians. Figures from the nongovernmental organization Yesh Din show that since the start of the current harvest there have been three cases involving a total of 150 trees being cut down, five cases of olives being stolen and one assault on a farmer.

Writings reading 'Destroying for enemies and not for Jews' on a building in the Palestinian village of Marda. Credit: Regional Council Kafr Marda

In addition, the army arrested on Monday one Palestinian and two Israeli activists who had come to help Palestinian farmers with harvesting their olives near the illegal outpost Nof Avi as part of a campaign called “Faza.” The army declared the area a closed military zone and detained the three on charges of violating the order and assaulting a soldier.

From pictures and from conversations Haaretz had with witnesses, it appears that soldiers acted violently when they arrested the Palestinian activist Muhammad Khatib. Witnesses said he was hit in the face and later on his back. 

They were released on Tuesday night by a court, which ordered them to stay away from the area of the outpost for several days. 

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said the activists had acted violently toward the soldiers and that Khatib tried to escape after he was arrested. The army said the photographs of the incident did not fully reflect what had happened but admitted that the behavior of the soldiers was unacceptable.”

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