Nearly Two Dozen Cars Vandalized in Ramallah Area in anti-Palestinian Hate Crime

The graffiti sprayed on cars and on a building in El Bireh is the latest in a string of vandalism incidents involving West Bank Palestinian property

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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Graffiti sprayed on a building in El Bireh, on Tuesday. The Hebrew reads 'enemies live here.'
Graffiti sprayed on a building in El Bireh, on Tuesday. The Hebrew reads 'enemies live here.'Credit: Iyad Hadad/B'Tselem
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Nearly two dozes cars in the Ramallah-area Palestinian town of El Bireh overnight into Tuesday, in what appears to be anti-Palestinian hate crime.

Following the reports of the damage, which included punctured tires and spray-painted Stars of David and anti-Arab slogans in Hebrew, the Israeli police and the army were dispatched to the scene.

The slogan "enemies live here" was also painted on a building and "price tag" painted on a van. The anti-Arab term "price tag" was originally applied to acts by Israeli extremists aimed at preventing or avenging evacuations of West Bank settlers.

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The Israeli army confirmed its forces entered El Bireh to investigate the incident. Video footage from Palestinian broadcaster Al-Quds TV showed scuffles breaking out between Palestinians and troops, who used tear gas to disperse residents and journalists.

The slogan 'price tag' on a van in El Bireh on Tuesday.Credit: Iyad Hadad/B'Tselem

The vandalism comes amid an uptick in settler violence. In October, four Palestinian olive harvesters were lightly injured after being attacked by some 30 settlers who hurled stones and sprayed pepper spray at the workers.

In September, dozens of Israeli settlers ambushed a Bedouin village in the southern West Bank, smashing cars and houses. The attack left several injured, including a Palestinian toddler who was hospitalized with head injuries.

Last month, unidentified vandals spray-painted slogans and damaged property in the West Bank Palestinian village of Marda, near the Jewish settlement of Ariel. In that incident, eight vehicles as well as the exterior walls of buildings were painted with slogans including "price tag" and a Hebrew slogan suggesting that "enemy" homes rather than Jewish homes should be demolished.

"A day doesn't go by without settler violence," the left-wing Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din said in response to the El Bireh vandalism. "One day they commit a pogrom. A second day, they throw volleys of stones at farmers. On another day they chop down dozens of olive trees," the group said in a statement Tuesday referring to the latest in a string of vandalism incidents involving Palestinian property in the West Bank.

"This morning they spray-paint hostile graffiti inside a Palestinian city. Their aim is to threaten the residents, and as long as the political system and law enforcement authorities continue with their impotence, they are accessories to the crime and in the process, strengthen the apartheid regime in the West Bank," the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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