Cars Torched, Graffiti Sprayed in Palestinian Village Near Jerusalem

Incident comes after police arrest eight right-wing activists suspected of attacking two men in Jerusalem with pepper spray

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Graffiti sprayed in Beit Iksa, tonight.
Graffiti sprayed in Beit Iksa, tonight.

Three cars were set on fire and graffiti was sprayed in the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa, near Jerusalem, on Tuesday night.

The graffiti sprayed on the road read "Jews let's win. Tick tock," apparently a reference to recent videos posted on TikTok of Palestinians attacking Jewish passersby in Jerusalem.

Earlier Tuesday, right-wing extremist groups used social media to call on people to take part in a protest in Jerusalem, but no violent events were reported as of midnight.

Gadi Gvaryahu, chairman of the anti-hate crime organization Tag Meir, said after the incident that "[t]hose who glossed over the march of hate by the Lehava organization on Thursday are reaping a whirlwind," referring to last week's violent demonstration by the far-right, anti-Arab organization.

Attorney Abdullah Hamdan, a resident of Beit Iksa, told Haaretz that locals did not care about the cars but were worried about their families. "This time they strike at cars," he said. "Next time they will strike at people."

The village is isolated from other parts of the West Bank by the separation barrier and lies adjacent to Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood. Residents must pass through a checkpoint to enter.

Earlier Tuesday, police said they had arrested eight right-wing activists suspected of involvement in two attacks in Jerusalem. In one incident, a traffic inspector was attacked with pepper spray and required medical attention. Soon thereafter, another pepper spray attack was reported nearby. The suspects were caught while in possession of pepper spray canisters.

Tensions in Jerusalem began rising two weeks ago, with Palestinians in the city attributing this to the city police's decision to ban people from sitting on the steps near the Damascus Gate, a traditional gathering point during Ramadan. Tensions rose further on Thursday with a violent demonstration by the far-right, anti-Arab group Lehava. The Damascus Gate plaza was reopened on Sunday.

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