Settlement Mayor Decries 'Anarchy' After Police Car Torched

Graffiti sprayed at the scene in Kiryat Arba apparently refers to the death of 16-year-old Ahuvia Sandak, who was killed a year ago in high-speed police chase

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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A torched police car in Kiryat Arba near graffiti that reads 'Hello from Ahuvia,' on Wednesday.
A torched police car in Kiryat Arba near graffiti that reads 'Hello from Ahuvia,' on Wednesday.Credit: Israel Police
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

A police car was set ablaze on Wednesady in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, with a graffitied message sprayed nearby: "Hello from Ahuvia."

This is an apparent reference to Ahuvia Sandak, who was killed last year during a high-speed police chase after he allegedly threw stones at Palestinians with his friends.

Local police have opened an investigation into the incident.

The head of the Kiryat Arba-Hebron settler council, Eliyahu Libman, described it as a very serious crime. "We have one police force and one state, and anarchy will not lead us anywhere. I hope that they catch and prosecute the anarchists, but I also hope they are not residents of our local council," Libman said. "This is not how we do things. I demanded that local police bring the arsonists to justice as soon as possible."

Sandak, 16, a resident of settlement outpost Maoz Esther in the northern West Bank, was killed last year after police chased after him and his friends, who were suspected of throwing stones at Palestinians. Officers crashed into their car from behind, causing it to flip, fatally injuring Sandak and lightly to moderately injuring his friends.

On Sunday, dozens of protesters demanding the indictment of police officers blocked the entrance to Jerusalem and clashed with police, leading to at least 10 arrests.

The Knesset voted two weeks ago to investigate Sandak's death amid a stalled police investigation.

Sandak's death sent shockwaves around the West Bank and Jerusalem last year, sparking violent protests that drew hundreds of right-wing demonstrators and often turned into violent confrontations with security forces.

The number of violent attacks against Arabs across Israel and the West Bank also spiked in the wake of Sandak's death.

The episode led to a meeting between radical settlers from Sandak's outpost and top Israeli military generals, a move the military labeled as "precedent-setting", in order to find "common ground" and quell tensions.

While the investigation into the police officers' conduct before Ahuvia Sandak's death technically remains open, sources involved in the investigation told Haaretz earlier this year that the case is likely to be closed because of a lack of evidence to indict the officers.

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