Cars Vandalized, Walls Defaced in Suspected Hate Crime in West Bank Village

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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A car vandalized during a suspected hate crime in the West Bank village of As-Sawiya, June 8, 2020.
A car vandalized during a suspected hate crime in the West Bank village of As-Sawiya, June 8, 2020.Credit: As-Sawiya Council
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

Twelve cars were vandalized and pro-Israel graffiti spray-painted on the walls of homes in the Palestinian village of As-Sawiya in the northern West Bank, near the settlement of Ariel.

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Security camera footage from the scene showed unidentified perpetrators puncturing car tires. Graffiti in Hebrew was also found on a wall, reading “Am Yisrael chai,” or "the people of Israel live," a phrase often used as a rallying cry for Israeli nationalists.

Israel Police said it launched an investigation into the matter.

'Am Yisrael Chai' - a slogan spray-painted on a wall in the West Bank village of As-Sawiya during a suspected hate crime, June 8, 2020.Credit: As-Sawiya Council

“We got up this morning to discover that car tires in the neighborhood were damaged and that there was graffiti on the houses,” village resident Sami Halil told Haaretz. “I checked my security camera and saw that whoever did this had come close to the window where my children were sleeping.”

Halil recalled the 2015 firebombing of a house in the West Bank Palestinian village of Duma, which killed three members of the Dawabsheh family, including an infant. Last month, an Israeli settler, Amiram Ben-Uliel, was convicted of three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in the case, a decision that the Israeli Shin Bet security service saluted as “an important milestone in the battle against Jewish terror.”

“I ask, where are we headed? Another round of the Dawabsheh family,” Halil said. “Someone needs to deal with this seriously. That’s the reality that we have woken up to.”

As-Sawiya has seen its share of vandalism in the past, but residents say they have witnessed an increase in recent months. In April, 33 olive trees were cut down.

Last Thursday, in the Palestinian village of Burin, near the restive Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, north of As-Sawiya, 36 olive trees were damaged and uprooted, following a similar attack in October, in which 24 trees were damaged on a tract of land owned by the same person.

According to the Israeli anti-occupation group Yesh Din, between March and May of this year, there were 21 violent incidents and 23 cases of damage to property directed at West Bank Palestinians. They included 14 cases in the Nablus district, 10 in the Ramallah area and eight in the Hebron region.

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