Suspected far-right vandals spray-painted graffiti on the tombstone of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, the Muslim preacher who provided inspiration for Hamas’ military wing, Israel’s Channel 10 is reporting on Friday.
This latest incidence of vandalism is believed to be part of the so-called “price tag” campaign waged by settlers and far-right supporters intended to intimidate the Arab population of Israel, Judea, and Samaria, as well as dissuade the government from making peace overtures to the Palestinians.
The Muslim "Al Qassam" cemetery in Haifa joins the list of targets nationwide, as Israeli authorities struggle to prevent suspected far-right assailants from defiling more non-Jewish property.
One of the graves was spray-painted with the words "Tag mehir (‘price tag’) Tzipi Livni," while another read "Thanks for Memorial Day" along with the name of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Al-Qassam, whose exploits during the Palestinian struggle for independence against the British and the Zionists inspired generations of Palestinians, is the namesake of the Hamas military wing. The name conjures up traumatic experiences for Israelis who for over the past decade have been living under the threat of incessant Qassam rocket fire from Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
This past week, residents of the Israeli Arab town of Fureidis, near Zichron Ya’acov, were infuriated after unidentified vandals sprayed graffiti on a mosque and slashed dozens of tires the previous night.
Graffiti reading, “Shut down mosques, not yeshivot,” was sprayed on the outside of the mosque, and inside, the vandals spray-painted a Star of David. They slashed the tires of cars belonging to residents.
On surveillance camera footage shown on TV Tuesday night, three people can be seen slashing the tires.
In response to the vandalism, a general strike was called for Wednesday in the village of some 12,000 residents, and all schools and businesses will be shut down.
On Tuesday night, around 1,500 people took part in a protest march through the village, calling for an end to “price tag” attacks and for police to find the perpetrators. In addition, dozens of residents of nearby Zichron Ya’acov and other Jewish towns came out and protested in a sign of solidarity.
Coastal District police said the protests were entirely peaceful and that they have no indication that any sort of revenge attacks should be expected in the area.
Fureidis village chairman Yonas Marai told Israel Radio: “They wrote many things on the mosque wall. They wrote that we have to close down the mosques and build yeshivas in their place. We live here in the State of Israel, a democratic state, we do not live in the West Bank and not in the [Gaza] Strip.”