Arab vehicles in French Hill targeted in latest wave of suspected hate crime attacks..
(photo credit: COURTESY JERUSALEM POLICE)
At least five vehicles in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem were vandalized and spray-painted with anti-Arab graffiti early Monday morning in what police are investigating as a probable “price-tag” attack.
“Death to Arabs” and “Revenge. Binyamin Richter says hello,” were written in green paint across the side of two of the cars in the predominantly Jewish community situated near the flashpoint east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shuafat and Isawiya.
French Hill is also home to many Hebrew University of Jerusalem students and faculty from the Mount Scopus campus.
“Police opened an investigation after damage was caused in French Hill to a number of vehicles and graffiti was written on them,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. “Police units are searching the area for the suspects involved in the incident and looking into the background.”On May 9
, more than two dozen vehicles and homes in Arab enclaves of east Jerusalem and the northern Galilee were also targeted in a spate of nationalistically motivated vandalism.
Generally associated with Jewish fundamentalist settler youth, price-tag attacks are acts of vandalism or arson that target Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, left-wing Israeli Jews, or Israeli security forces who hinder settlement activity.
According to police, approximately 20 vehicles had their tires slashed and were spray-painted with graffiti along the border separating the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo and the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat.
In the Arab village of Na’ura, south of Nazareth, at least eight cars had their tires slashed and several homes were defaced. The words “Price Tag,” “Administrative Price Tag” and “Administrative Revenge” were spray-painted in black Hebrew letters on several of the vehicles and homes.
Administrative detention involves expedited judicial proceedings without standard trial and evidentiary procedures, a practice for which Israel is often criticized in its detention of Palestinians suspected of terrorism.
In July of 2015, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon signed two controversial decrees ordering the administrative detention of far-right youth leaders Meir Ettinger and Evyatar Slonim for their suspected involvement in an arson attack that killed an infant in the West Bank village of Duma.
Each administrative detention order allows the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to keep suspects in custody for up to six months without a trial, after which a judge can decide to renew the order for several months more, pending the ongoing investigation.
Ettinger is currently banned from the West Bank and Jerusalem and will have to check in every night at a specific court-approved residence, according to a spokesman for Honenu, the right-wing organization that provided him with legal assistance.
Ettinger was also banned from contacting 92 suspected extremists whose names were collected by police and Shin Bet.
During a spike of similar attacks in 2014, the Shin Bet said the price-tag phenomenon was the handiwork of about 100 individuals from the Yitzhar settlement and other nearby outposts in the West Bank.
The last suspected pricetag attack in the West Bank occurred in April, when a Palestinian vehicle was set on fire in the village of Huwara, south of Nablus.