Jaffa: Hate graffiti found in Muslim, Christian cemeteries

Cops: Attack occurred several days ago, not necessarily "price-tag" linked; Jaffa Arabs protest vandalism; Synagogue hit by Molotov cocktail.

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October 9, 2011 01:00
2 minute read.
Graffiti is seen on a gravestone in Jaffa cemetery

Jaffa Cemetery 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Far-Right graffiti was found spray-painted in Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa, police said on Saturday night.

The messages “Price tag” and “Death to Arabs” were written on the tombstones. Police denied media reports that around 25 graves had been vandalized.

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“We have not seen any smashed stones,” a Tel Aviv police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.

“An investigation is under way,” she added.

“This is not a new incident. We believe it occurred several days ago,” she said.

“The graffiti has been erased.”

Police added that “Death to Russians – G.A. 02” was also spray-painted in the cemetery, and that this graffiti was “linked to a soccer group.”

Other graffiti included X’s and the letters ACAB, as well as at least one depiction of a male sexual organ.

Police are not convinced that the graffiti was spray-painted by far-Right elements.

“Price tag” attacks happen when Jews exact a price from Arabs or from the security forces for any action taken against the settlement enterprise.

Hours after the graffiti was reported to police, a gasoline bomb was thrown at the roof of the Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes synagogue in Jaffa. No damage or injuries were reported.

On Saturday night, around 200 people took part in a protest in the city’s Ajami neighborhood against the vandalism.

“This is a terrible and offensive action to desecrate a cemetery, but we say that the writing was on the wall,” Kamal Agbariya, head of the Ajami neighborhood committee, said on Saturday night. “There were two cases in the past month where people wrote ‘Death to Arabs’ on walls in Jaffa, and probably people saw that there was no response from the police so they did it again.”

Agbariya called on police to act against the vandals and said Jaffa residents would visit the Tel Aviv Police District headquarters on Salameh Street on Sunday to demand that they act to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Throughout the rally in ajami, protesters chanted against “settlers” and “fascists” and pointed an accusatory finger at the government, which they said was not taking sufficient action against Jewish extremists.

Tel-Aviv Jaffa city councilman Sami Abu-Shehada blamed the government. “The government gives these people a green light to commit such acts. If people were to pay a serious price after the first ‘price tag’ operation, it wouldn’t happen again.”

Earlier on Saturday, the head of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Ajawa, told Channel 10 news that he had issued a call to all Arab groups there to “act with caution and avoid being dragged into a violent response.”

He described the incident as “an attempt by an extremist group to blackmail the Arab masses in the city.”

On Thursday, police announced the arrest of a yeshiva student from northern Israel on suspicion of being behind an arson attack on a mosque in a Beduin village in the Upper Galilee last Sunday.

A night of rioting broke out in Tuba-Zanghariya after the incident, followed by waves of arrests of suspected rioters.


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