'Price tag' vandals hit east Jerusalem neighborhood

Army Radio: 21 cars were vandalized before dawn Monday; "we won't sit idly by in response to stones" spray painted on walls.

June 24, 2013 08:40
1 minute read.
Graffiti reads 'mutual responsibility, Esh Kodesh'

Hebrew graffiti reads "mutual responsibility, Esh Kodesh" 37. (photo credit: Courtesy of B'Tselem)

Authorities on Monday said that unidentified vandals spray-painted and slashed the tires of nearly two dozen vehicles in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, Army Radio reported.

The incident is the latest in a series of so-called "price tag" incidents against property belonging to Palestinians.

According to Army Radio, the alleged perpetrators, who are believed to be those sympathetic with the extreme right-wing, spray-painted "We won't sit idly by in response to stones" on the walls of the village, which is the largest Arab neighborhood in Israel's capital.

Authorities also found a Star of David spray-painted on one of the vehicles.
Police announced that they have launched an investigation into the incident.

"We can not accept this lawlessness in our midst. We are acting against it with a strong hand and we will continue to do so," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said as he spoke out against the attack during a visit to a school in the Barkan settlement.

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich said after the attack that the increasing frequency of price tag actions is "not only damaging the fragile nature of relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and hurting Israel's image in the world, it also represents a blatant disregard and trampling of the rule of law in Israel."

Yacimovich argued that it was inconceivable that Israel, which is among the most skilled nations in the world at intelligence gathering, has been unable to find the "extremist fringe group" perpetrating price tag attacks.

Last week, the country was stunned when a similar spree of vandalism and destruction was discovered in Abu Ghosh, a predominantly Arab village just outside of Jerusalem that is known for its warm ties with the neighboring Jewish townships. The incident was roundly condemned across the political spectrum.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch's call to legally equate "price tag" incidents with terrorism was rebuffed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

"Until now, these actions have not claimed any lives," the premier said. "From a public relations standpoint, we mustn't compare them to Hamas."

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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